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Pulpit Swap on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

Date of Event: January 20, 2013

by Amber Shaikh

During MLK weekend, our Imam of Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier, Rabbi Pokras of Temple Beth Zion, and Reverend Yorty of Westminster Presbyterian Church swapped pulpits. Each of them talked about God’s vision for community. Many attended our mosque on Friday, January 18th right after Jumah namaz where Rabbi Gary Pokras spoke about Torah, the wonders of God, and similarities of our three religions. He also talked about how Mitzvah Day got started after 9/11 where all three communities came together.

Pastor Yorty continued that the importance of mutual understanding of all three religions, to honor our differences and make the work together effective. He also spoke about Genesis’ call of Abraham where people will be blessed. “We have been so richly blessed,” says Rev. Tom Yorty.

Later on in the evening after the Shabbat service, Reverend Tom Yorty also gave a very inspiring speech at Temple Beth Zion on Delaware Avenue regarding God’s vision. We then did a tour of their beautiful sanctuary where Rabbi Pokras showed us their holy Torahs, the two tall tablets, the light that’s always lit how the sun shines through one window which lights up the Menorah and enlightened us with history and significance of each part of the beautiful architecture. It was a very enlightening experience!

Sunday morning of the same weekend, our Imam Nazim delivered a beautiful lecture at Westminster Presbyterian church on Delaware Avenue after singing hymns. His lecture was full of humor keeping people’s attention on his important words consisting of verses from the Quran, sayings of our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), importance of charity and remembering to thank others, misconceptions of our religion, and similarities of our three religions. This was followed by refreshments. Everyone was very welcoming and we left with smiles on our faces.