Faiths arrange High Holy unity
Yom Kippur observance to feature rabbi, imam, minister
September 20, 2001
When a Reform
congregation hosts a Muslim imam and a Lutheran pastor as part of its Yom Kippur
observance next Thursday, the world's three major religions will come together
on the holiest day of the Jewish New Year.
It is a highly unusual
occurrence, but organizers say the event is the perfect antidote to last week's
At 2 p.m. Sunday, Ibrahim Dremali, the imam, or
spiritual leader, of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, will join Rabbi Sam
Silver of Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor and the Rev. Heiner Hoffmann, pastor of
Ascension Lutheran Church, in a roundtable discussion at the Boynton Beach
"People turn to God because they don't understand what happened,"
Hoffmann said. "Sometimes, it's very important to turn to each other in
understanding, so we can deal with the questions that come to our minds.... So
we can learn together."
The interfaith discussion involving Judaism,
Islam and Christianity was being planned long before last week's shattering
events, but the tragedy has given new urgency to the idea of increasing
sensitivity, if only locally, across the religious lines that divide.
some ways, those divisions have become broader since the terrorist attacks.
Arab-Americans and Muslims have come under increasing suspicion -- and even
attack -- across the country, as America learns more about terrorists who
consider themselves Muslims on a "holy war" of terror against the United
Sixteen Islamic leaders from across South Florida met with an FBI
special agent in Miami on Tuesday night to discuss hate-crime reports and FBI
assurances offenders would be fully prosecuted.
The meeting, called by
the FBI, also allowed the agency to seek information the Muslim leaders might
have about the alleged terrorists who had been living in South
Dremali made it clear those men were not followers of Islam. The
fact they apparently drank alcohol and frequented topless clubs tells him that,
because Islam prohibits alcohol use and adultery, he said. Plus, neither he nor
imams of South Florida's other 18 major Muslim mosques knew or ever saw the men.
We would know them, Dremali said.
Barry Silver, son of L'Dor Va-Dor's
rabbi, Samuel Silver, said he expects frank discussion next week, and that no
one would be there "to just be nice to each other.... We'll be getting into some
Dremali, for one, said he plans to discuss one thing for
sure: the literal meaning of the term "jihad," now loosely translated to mean
"In Islamic terms, there is no Āholy war,'" he said. "We don't
know that meaning."
Meanwhile, an interfaith Memorial Prayer Service is
planned for 7 p.m. today at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Boca Raton. It is
sponsored by the Greater Boca Raton Association of Religious
Marian Dozier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Copyright © 2001, South Florida