Christians and Muslims unite
On Sunday March 13, imam Zühdü Elveren en pastor Peter de Jong will lead a religious service together in the Fidelishof in IJmuiden. "We form a community despite our differences. We belong together on yonder side of those differences", says pastor De Jong of the unique get-toegther.
The Roman Catholic community of IJmuiden had contacted local Muslims before. "After the murder of Theo van Gogh. a hundred people from our church walked over to the mosque. We wanted to give some indication that there shouldn't be any room for a them-against-us mentality.
There's a lot of anti-Muslim thinking now, but don't forget that Christians also have a lot to answer for -- crusades, for example, and the inquisition", says De Jong. "So we should recognize that we are culpable, too. Let's just say that the spirit of Wilders [the Dutch PM who is critical of extreme Islam] is anathema to us."
The regular worshippers at the Kuba mosque in IJmuiden appreciated the visit from the Catholic group, and they recipcrocated with a group excursion to the St. Pieter Church on Zuiderkruisstraat. "Men and women. We explained which function some of our religious artifacts have during a church service", De Jong continues. "That's how we look for rapprochement with the muslim community, because society is hardening against them. Guided by the Bible, we seek to counter these things. It's a kind of antidote against anti-semitism and anti-Q'uran."
The church service will be somewhat adapted to the guests. "We're deliberately not performing the holy communion, because we don't want to make things unnecessarily difficult. The imam and I will open the service together. I will read something from the Bible, and the imam will read a translation from the Q'uran. We'll all sing together, too. During the service, it'll be possible to ask the imam some questions; and after the service, there'll be a church social," De Jong explains.
"This is an important thing to do," the pastor adds. "We have to go down new paths. Let's not focus on our religious differences, but on what we have in common. We're working on our interpersonal growth. This imam condemns terrorism; by expressing that, you can take away the prejudice."
American Dutch blogger nobodysbusiness was so kind to translate this story for you. Check out his blog at: nobodysbusiness.typepad.com
H/T: Dutch Disease
Source: Haarlems Dagblad