Understanding the Islamic Faith

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Coming Together to Celebrate Islam_66047793-159532

Religious leaders in Peoria are coming together tonight to continue their work to create a new image for the Islamic faith.

They want to put an end to common fears.

“I think there’s a lot of suspicion that maybe Muslims are silent supporters of ISIS.”

That’s just one of the challenges Muslims face each day.

Local Muslim leader Kamil Mufti says a lack of understanding is another. 

“There are people who have already made up their minds and they’re being driven by hate,” Mufti said.

“It’s clear that people still have a lot of misunderstandings of Islam, there’s still a lot of fear about what Islam stands for, what it commands,” said Stephen McKinney-Whitaker, Pastor at United Presbyterian Church.

Faith leaders across Peoria know the discussion about Islam is far from over, which is why they organized another event at the civic center Monday night.

“We’re being targeted by a political movement that seems to be mostly about demonizing others,” said Rabbi Daniel Bogard.

The religious leaders are answering questions that were left unanswered from the last event.

“Just some of the comments that were rude, hateful and even threatening at times,” McKinney-Whitaker said.  

“This is an opportunity to open up the floor to some of the questions people have and to address them,” Mufti said.

They’ll address them with answers that show the differences of Islam.

More importantly, the things that bring religions closer together.

“When we are in positions when we have some amount of power, we are to use that to protect the very most vulnerable within our societies,” Bogard said.

“If we allow things to be said negatively of another religion, it can always be said of you as well,” McKinney-Whitaker said.

Even though this discussion might not change things right now, some hope it leads to a better future.

“I think this shows the importance of building relationships and bridging those divides,” Mufti said. 

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