CBS to film documentary on Springfield Muslims, Christians


Clark County Muslims and Christians will host a series of events beginning today to foster respect and awareness of the ways members of the two religions are living together in peace in Springfield.

The work being done in Springfield to develop ties between the religions has drawn the interest of CBS News, which plans to send a film crew to Clark County as part of a documentary for a series focusing on religion and culture.

RELATED: Springfield woman works to dispel myths about Islam

Carl Ruby has served as pastor at Springfield’s Central Christian Church for three years. But he said local leaders and members of the area’s Muslim community have been building friendships long before he began leading the church.

This weekend’s events will be a success if people walk away understanding more about their neighbors, he said.

READ MORE: Wall, travel ban prompt protest in Springfield

“I’m hoping people can walk away with an acquaintance that they could have coffee with,” Ruby said. “The biggest thing that contributes to negative stereotypes and misunderstandings is that we just don’t have a personal contact with someone of a different faith.”

Samina Ahmed, a member of the Al Madina Mosque in Springfield, has spent several years working to share and explain her Islamic faith to people who might know little about it otherwise. She’s been active in the Global Education and Peace Network and chairs the city of Springfield’s Human Relations Board.

“I’ve never been prouder to be an American Muslim than today because of the humanity I see in people who just came out of nowhere to support Muslims,” Ahmed said.

DETAILS: Springfield mosque receives support after Quebec shooting, travel ban

The mosque and church will team up for three events.

At 1:15 p.m. today at Al Madina Mosque, 1800 S. Burnett, Imam Yunus Lasania will provide an educational presentation on Islam, followed by traditional Muslim prayers at 2 p.m.

At 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Central Christian Church, 1504 Villa Road, Ruby will officiate a public worship service focused on loving neighbors when their faiths differ. Then at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Central Christian, Lasania and Ruby will moderate a panel discussion titled, “Beyond Tolerance: Honoring the call to love our neighbors.”

Ruby talked in Columbus earlier this year about his opposition to a proposed executive order signed by President Donald Trump that would have banned citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. for 90 days. U.S. courts blocked that order and an attempted revision also hasn’t been allowed to proceed.

Ruby’s speech caught the attention of the television network.

“As a Christian I don’t think we should be making that distinction,” Ruby said of the executive order. “If a person is fleeing for their life and if they’ve been vetted, they should enter whether they’re a Christian or a Muslim.”

RELATED: Springfield mosque gets $500k in upgrades

He credited both members of Springfield’s Muslim community and city leaders, who have pushed back against stereotypes against Muslims since the terrorist attacks on New York on Sept. 11, 2001.

Both Ahmed and Ruby said this weekend’s events are just part of a long-standing effort to promote understanding in Clark County. Springfield is a typical Midwestern town, Ruby said, but it’s ahead of many similar cities in promoting inclusiveness.

“There have been good things happening all along,” Ruby said. “For reasons I don’t fully understand we’re at a tipping point in a very positive way of moving beyond merely tolerating one another and actually becoming neighbors and loving one another.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Delta warns of flight cancellations due to subtropical storm Alberto
Delta warns of flight cancellations due to subtropical storm Alberto

Delta Air Lines is warning that it expects it will have to cancel flights due to subtropical storm Alberto. The storm is expected to make landfall just west of Panama City on Monday afternoon with heavy rain and strong wind affecting areas in Alberto’s path, according to Delta. Atlanta-based Delta said it expects delays and cancellations...
15-year-old girl missing since Tuesday in Mississippi, parents want answers
15-year-old girl missing since Tuesday in Mississippi, parents want answers

A Mississippi family is desperate for answers after one of their own, 15-year-old Eileen Betlinski-Brown, went missing Tuesday in Horn Lake, Mississippi. “It’s just way, way, way too real. I guess you call it stressful to say the least. Scary. Not knowing what’s happening,” said Eileen’s grandfather, James Betlinski. Betlinski...
Man, 79, pleads no contest to raping girl, 5, sentenced to 90 days house arrest
Man, 79, pleads no contest to raping girl, 5, sentenced to 90 days house arrest

A California businessman pleaded no contest to statutory rape of a 5-year-old girl Wednesday, and, as part of a negotiated deal with the San Joaquin County Superior Court, was sentenced to 90 days house arrest and will not have to register as a sex offender. Lyle Burgess, 79, of Stockton, sexually assaulted the girl, who is now 7, after her family...
Germany’s largest amusement park reopens after massive fire 
Germany’s largest amusement park reopens after massive fire 

There were no injuries among the thousands of people who evacuated from Germany’s largest amusement park after a fire ignited Saturday, destroying the Pirates of Batavia ride.  About 250 firefighters battled the blaze at Europa-Park into Sunday morning after the fire started in a warehouse, according to Sky News. Some firefighters...
Maryland rain-soaked, flash floods wash out Ellicott City
Maryland rain-soaked, flash floods wash out Ellicott City

Heavy rains soaking much of Maryland have led to flash flooding in parts of the state. Main Street in Ellicott City, which is just outside of Baltimore, was filled with rushing brown floodwater Sunday afternoon.  A flash flood emergency was issued for Howard County at 4:40 p.m. The city was still recovering from a devastating 2016 flood that left...
More Stories