Social Justice Book Group

What better way to christen the use of our newly renovated Chapel than providing a welcoming place for folks to openly discuss multi-faith issues. On May 21st, several SUMC members met with our guest from the Islamic Center of Boston (ICB), Shaheen Akhtar. Members of the Social Justice Commission first met Shaheen at the Interfaith Book Club community event in March at the ICB. She is the leader of the Interfaith Book Club offered monthly at the ICB. Over 100 people of various religious and ethnic backgrounds met to discuss The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew – Three Women Search for Understanding by Suzanne Oliver, Ranya Idibly and Pricilla Warner. After two hours, the group was still chatting, sharing and listening! Energized by this open discussion and exchange, the SJ commission decided to offer the book as one of its book group selections and to invite Shaheen to lead our SUMC discussion.

We discussed America’s divisiveness over religions and Shaheen shared information regarding the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR examined how promoting hate and fear is a money-making business that certain organizations exploited for their own purposes in the article “CAIR Exposes Islamophobia Network in America”. As in any book group, conversations were diverse ranging from the First Lady’s decision not to wear a headscarf when in Saudi Arabia to the writings in the Koran including,

“Those who believe, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabeans, any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (2:62)”

Shaheen invited us all to the next community interfaith book club meeting that will be held in October at the ICB. The book to be discussed is Getting to Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi & an Imam by Pastor Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, Imam Jamal Rahman.

We closed with a prayer and a promise to get together again!

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