Representatives from the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation visited Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on Sunday. Immediately, I knew it was a good thing I passed up the Greek baklava the night before, because they brought the Turkish version to share with the attendees at adult education. FYI, Greek baklava is made with honey, Turkish baklava does not use honey. It was delicious!
More important than the baklava was the opportunity to freely discuss Islam and Christianity, to ask questions and to get answers. After an initial slide show from the foundation representatives, there was a free-wheeling discussion that touched on sharia law and the allegations of some politicians that Muslims wanted to impose sharia law on various cities. Sharia law, and this is an oversimplification, includes the suggestions and commandments from the Koran. They are religious in nature and would make no sense to impose on a non-Islamic population. There were questions about the position of women in Islam. I could have answered that Islamic women are some of the strongest and most influential in their religion that I know, but, by remaining silent, I learned something new -- that when Islamic women work outside the home, the money they earn is theirs alone. They may choose to share it with the family, but they need not do so.
Generally, the people from Good Shepherd who attended had ample opportunity to ask questions and receive honest answers. What a pity that some I know have fears of Islam chose not to participate in the discussion and learn what might ease their fears of Islam.