Confirmation class warmly received at Islamic Center

On Sunday, April 2, this year’s Confirmation students, some of their parents, and teachers, were warmly received by two congregants at the Islamic Center of Boston at Wayland. Having read the Old Testament story of Abraham, Sara, Hagar and Ishmael and God’s promise to bring forth a great nation of believers through Hagar and Ishmael as He also promised Abraham, Sara and Isaac, we decided to visit our Muslim brothers and sisters to learn more about their faith. We gathered in the prayer room where our hosts, Sonia Nguyen and Aijaz Muncif told us about the five pillars of Islam. We also learned the difference between a mosque and a cultural center, the former open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be available for the five times a day observant Muslims pray. The center we visited is primarily a Sunday school for over 250 Muslim children and teenagers. They are also open for the Friday prayer service. The center and its programs are funded entirely by donations and fully staffed and administered by volunteers. We were there in time for the 1:00pm call to prayer, ably sung by one of the school’s students, and to hear a brief lesson by Wellesley College’s Muslim chaplain on the Qur’an’s teachings on peace. As she pointed out, the traditional Islamic greeting “As-SalaamAlaikum” (peace be onto you) is a reminder that the peace of God should always be foremost in our hearts and minds and that we are called by God to be peacemakers. By coincidence, we were there on the day that the Center was having an open house for all people in the area. We saw interesting exhibits on Islamic architecture and the rich tradition of science and learning in the Islamic world. We were also treated to delicious Middle Eastern food prepared by a Syrian refugee family who is part of the Center’s congregation. We had a great time learning about the rich contributions of Muslim people to world culture and experiencing the peace, love, and hospitality of our brothers and sisters in the God of Abraham. “As-Salaam-Alaikum” – the peace of God be with you.