Friday, November 12, 2010

Kashif Saroya at Chain of Lakes Church

This past Tuesday night Kashif Saroya shared a terrific talk about the basics of Islam for the people of Chain of Lakes Church and the community. An edited version of his talk can be seen at: I very much appreciated his humility and willingness to engage and answer everyone’s questions.

Some pieces of Kashif’s talk that resonated with me:

• When Muslims take a posture of prayer they kneel down and put their head to the ground. Kashif shared that when they do this their heart is higher than their head. This is one function of prayer, isn’t it? When we pray we try to let our mind rest and open our heart to receive and honor God.

• When Muslims bow down on their knees in prayer next to each other they become one.

• Muslims did stand up to condemn the killings of September 11, 2001. The media didn’t cover that.

• Islam is a religion of peace and not war

• Many of the stereotypes we have about Muslims are cultural and not religious expressions.

We had some excellent questions shared during Kashif’s talk. Some of the questions brought a tension to the room (questions about September 11, the reaction of Muslims to the Danish cartoon a few years ago, and the reaction of a few Muslim leaders to the recent Interfaith service held in the Cities last month). The questions were not shared in an argumentative way—people needed answers. Kashif handled them with a spirit of openness. He encouraged people to ask difficult and hard questions about Islam.

We’ve received excellent coverage of the event. This week the Quad Press put an article previewing the event on the front page of their newspaper. You can read the on-line version at: They had a reporter come on Tuesday evening who most likely will write another article for next week’s edition.

I highly recommend Kashif Saroya to other churches and organizations. He is an oustanding representative of the Islamic Resource Center.

I’m very proud of the people at Chain of Lakes for their willingness to host and sponsor this talk. I already know that through this talk some stereotypes about Islam were broken down.

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