Samina Ahmed of Masjid Al-Madina Mosque, right, greets Central Christian Church member Stephanie Ison and son William following a Sunday service in which the Muslim community supported the church. Photo by Brett Turner

Springfield Muslim community shows support for Christian church

On Sunday, members of Springfield’s Muslim community came together with one of its Christian churches in a show of support.

The Easter Sunday terrorist violence in Sri Lanka that resulted in 250 deaths motivated members of Springfield’s Masjid Al-Madina Mosque representing the Miami Valley Islamic Association to attend Sunday morning’s worship service at Central Christian Church to reaffirm their support and condemn the actions of the terrorists responsible.

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The bond between Masjid Al-Madina and Central Christian was forged during the filming of a CBS documentary on the religions here two years ago. It has remained solid since as Sunday’s attendance reaffirmed.

Central Christian senior pastor Carl Ruby said he was surprised and moved at the gesture. Mubin Syed and Samina Ahmed of Masjid Al-Madina spoke during the service.

“Like the KKK does not represent all Christians, ISIS does not represent Muslims,” Syed told the congregation.

Ahmed said the Sri Lanka violence affected Muslims for the same reason Syed gave.

“We know the best response is to stand together and reject evil,” she said. “It’s important to get to know one another. I pray our friendship with Central Christian will continue to grow.”

Ruby’s sermon, titled “Responding to a World of Violence,” echoed those sentiments. He talked of the need to be respectful of other religions and commit to fairness and friendship, which will be reflected in other ways.

“The more people see of our friendship, the better it is for Springfield,” said Ruby. “If we hear of stereotypes we want to correct them in the community.”

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Ruby talked of his friendship with Imam Yunus Lasania of Masjid Al-Madina and how they learn from each other, recalling a day last fall when the mosque was collecting money to support the Jewish community following the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings; the Muslim community later reached out to the local Jewish community and attended one of their services in support.

“That inspired me,” Ruby said. “Our faiths are different, but the challenges are the same.”

He said it’s important to also condemn all forms of white supremacy and shared ways to create a more peaceful world, often following Jesus Christ’s examples.

Following the service, Christians and Muslims greeted one another and thanked each other for the support, shook hands and exchanged hugs before retiring to enjoy refreshments provided by Masjid Al-Madina.

Central Christian member Stephanie Ison knew several Muslims in her hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich. and she and her husband are glad to do so again. Ison and Ahmed embraced, and the latter acknowledged Ison’s infant son, William, whom Ison has taken to Muslim prayer services.

“We’re interested in forming these types of friendships, it’s important to us,” she said. “They’ve gone above and beyond today.”

The church and mosque will reteam again in two weeks in creating care packages for the Springfield Soup Kitchen.

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