NPR – Centered on compassion and justice, leaders hold interfaith dinners at mosques
By: Sarah McCammon
With three major religious holidays – Ramadan, Passover and Easter – all converging in the same week, the leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were inspired to share their holiday celebrations with those of all beliefs in interfaith dinners at mosques across the country. The alignment of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian springtime holidays provided an opportunity for members of all three faiths to come together for a series of dinners and conversations focused on the theme of justice through compassion.
Harris Zafar is the national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and pastor Kelvin Ward is an associate pastor with the Cathedral of Praise International Ministries in Southern California. Harris Zafar, Pastor Ward, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
HARRIS ZAFAR: Thank you so much for having me.
KELVIN WARD: Thank you for having me also.
MCCAMMON: So tell me about these interfaith dinners that are happening at this time that’s holy for all three faiths. What prompted you to start hosting these interfaith meals?
ZAFAR: There was a realization that the three major religions in this country will be united at the same time. And so with all of the very strong relationships that we have with members of various communities and their organizations, we wanted to take this opportunity to have – to bring people of faith together. For quite some time, we had been discussing what we can do to address this strife, the bitterness, the persecution – and, of course, you know, epitomized by the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict, we thought this seems like the perfect opportunity for people of faith, in their spirit of spirituality and the season of spirituality, to come together and talk about compassion, but not compassion as an emotion, but more compassion that can result in action to help instill justice. And that’s how we’ve centered around this theme of justice through compassion and invited people to join us as we celebrate this or discuss this idea through these interfaith dinners.