The Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary, 501 Park Street in Syracuse, New York, hosted the 6th Annual World Interfaith Harmony Assembly on February 8, 2016. After the call to prayer at 6:46 PM, the program began.
Rev. Jon Werner, Roman Catholic priest currently in Binghamton and host of the 2013 interfaith assembly at St. John the Baptist, expressed hope that the gathering would help bridge the divides in the community. He then offered an invocation.
Ms. Huma Ahmed, from the Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary, said “We are thrilled to see everyone under one roof and spiritually engaged with each other.” This new mosque is in the building that was formerly the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, which had been empty for several years before being purchased in 2014 by a Muslim group, which named it Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary “to build a bridge between the old and the new.”
Members of the InterFaith Works Round Table of Faith Leaders each lit a candle and voiced their hopes for the assembly. After each of the following presentations, a clear tone sounded allowing all to reflect quietly for 15 seconds before the next religious group took the stage.
An 11-year-old girl from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Anna, said she likes to learn about other cultures and has met lots of great people that way. Four men and one woman from the Chapel of Malek Missionary at St. Paul’s sang a song from their native Sudan.
Other faith communities represented in the program included Buddhism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rapha Community, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Turkish Cultural Center, and Baha’i. Three chaplains from Syracuse University referred to the monthly interfaith dialogue dinners at the chapel and invited members of the larger community to attend.
Muris Neimarlija, imam of the Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary, led the Isha prayer, the final of the five daily Muslim prayers recited in the mosque, and invited those who wished to join in the prostrations that followed the recitations from the Qur’an.
Refreshments were arrayed on buffet tables and participants were requested to go up to at least one person they did not know and introduce themselves.