Interfaith prayer service focuses on racial, religious tolerance

March 17, 1994|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Sun Staff Writer

Concerned about what he sees as an international wave of racial and religious tension, Rabbi Martin Siegel, head of the Columbia Jewish Congregation in Oakland Mills, will hold TC special prayer service tomorrow night.

"The essence of religion is that we try to work together for the common good of the community and the glory of God," he said. "We want to affirm the ultimate unity of God."

The prayer service will take place at 8 p.m. at the Meeting House in Oakland Mills.

The free, interdenominational service is open to all.

Speakers will include the Rev. Robert A. F. Turner, of St. John the Evangelist Baptist Church, which meets in Wilde Lake; P. Francis Murphy, an auxiliary bishop of Baltimore's Catholic Archdiocese; and Mohammed A. Quayyum, head of Dar-Al-Taqwa. Dar-Al-Taqwa is a mosque in Wilde Lake, which attracts many of the county's estimated 200 Muslim families.

Rabbi Siegel said the service was prompted in part by the Feb. 25 massacre in Hebron, in which dozens of Palestinians worshiping at the Tomb of the Patriarchs on the Israeli-occupied West Bank were killed.

He also cited tensions between the Nation of Islam and the Jewish community nationally, which some see as evidence of a widening split between blacks and Jews.

Rabbi Siegel said the service will show that Jewish and Islamic people can worship peacefully.

"I think we have a lot in common," he said.

"We may have some differences, but we can work together and benefit each other."

He added that Columbia is an appropriate place for such a service, since religious, ethnic and racial diversity was instrumental in the planning of the unincorporated city and its interfaith centers.

"Even though we're different, we are one," he said.

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