News Story

Muslims and Mormons Meet at Interfaith Luncheon

In Brisbane, recently, senior Muslim leaders and local leaders from the Church came together in an interfaith meeting that reinforced the relationships of respect the two faith groups have established with each other.

Asa Smibert, president of Eight Mile Plains Stake (diocese), hosted a luncheon at the Kangaroo Point chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The guests included Imam Afroz Ali, the senior Imam of Al-ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development and Doctor Muhammed Abdalla, associate professor at Griffith University and Director of the Queensland node of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies.

Also in attendance was Javed Iqbal, General Manager of Seekers Point in Brisbane, an Islamic learning foundation. Dr Matthew Glen, Queensland interfaith relations specialist, and Janelle Nicholson, Director of Public Affairs for the Eight Mile Plains Stake, facilitated the meeting between the leaders of both faiths.

This luncheon, which was accompanied by a visit to the temple grounds, was a natural follow-up to the humanitarian and welfare events that the two faith groups have collaborated on in the past few months.

In July of 2013, Eight Mile Plains Stake and Seeker’s Point Brisbane pooled efforts to first organise a blanket drive for needy families and, once again, at the end of Ramadan, collaborated for an Halal Food drive. Local Muslim leaders and their spouses also attended a ward conference in the Eight Mile Plains chapel.

Brother Glen notes, “It is our hope that as we strengthen our relationships with senior Muslim leaders in the region, such humanitarian projects will continue to be initiatives that we can further together. As well as engaging in practical welfare initiatives, we are very interested in discussing ways of removing misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islamic and Latter-day Saint beliefs and traditions.”

To those in attendance, this meeting was an opportunity to build bridges of interfaith dialogue with leaders of other faith groups. Noted points of shared interest were dialogue on religious freedom and the space for religion to play a positive and visible role in society.

President Smibert said of the event, “Great things can occur when people of faith unite together for common causes. These experiences provide opportunities to strengthen understanding build relationships and work together in a positive way to bless humanity. It was uplifting to meet with leaders of the Muslim community who share the same desire to be an influence for good in the world.”

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