Texas Church Reaches Out to Muslims
The NorthWood Baptist Church in the Fort Worth suburb of Keller used the 10th anniversary of 9-11 to reach out to Muslims and invite them to church for a friendly visit.
The church worked with the Islamic Association of North Texas to get the word out in the Muslim community, and while some people were skeptical, it proved to be a huge success.
More than 1,500 Muslims and 1,000 Christians crowded into the church for the event.
Northwood pastor, the Rev. Bob Roberts Jr. said the goal was to build bridges between people of very different beliefs, and allow people to get to know each other in a spirit of love and camaraderie.
While 9-11 was mentioned during the gathering, it wasn't the focus. Pastors and imams talked more about what Muslims and Christians have in common than their differences.
Jokes were told -- one imam commented that the Dallas Cowboys needed divine intervention -- and congregants stood in unison to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge of Allegiance.
"A young lady in a hijab sang the Star-Spangled Banner," Roberts said. "A combined choir of Muslim and Christian kids sang You Are my Sunshine." "We didn't just sit around and preach sermons," he said. "We talked together, laughed together, ate together and built relationships."
Such events are important "to break down the barriers between our faiths," said Imam Zia ul Haque of the Islamic Center of Irving. "It's important to teach people what we believe in and how we see ourselves."
Since this event, thank you messages have filled the church’s Facebook page, from Muslims who say they were blessed by the outreach event and hope to hold more, “In sh’allah” – God willing.