Mt. Pleasant man thankful for recent class on Islamic religion

To the editor:

Thank you to members of Henry County?s Ministerial Association and to Iowa Wesleyan for co-sponsoring their recent mini-course on understanding our Muslim neighbors.

The professor and pastors who gave presentations were informative and insightful; I am especially grateful to Imam Hassam Selim of the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center who shared, in the final session, both facts and insights ? and a delightful sense of humor as well.

If more personal commentary be allowed, I would like to state that as an American who seriously cherishes his ?our- constitutional freedoms to worship (or not) as we deem meaningful, and to express ourselves openly in speech and writing, then the course served us well. I thank God for my neighbors and friends who are Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Mennonite, Mormon, Hindu, Jewish, atheist and agnostic ? and Muslim. Learning more about the histories, systems, and practices of these religious groups (and others) helps to enlarge my ?our- understanding of the wider world, in particular its gorgeous variety of faiths that (should) make us who we are.

How essential at this point in human history to inspect faiths for their similarities to our own. Far too simple to pick out the differences, and make those targets of loathing.

Perhaps instead of trying to shoot ragged holes in other people?s beliefs, we should try to live by the precepts of our own.

Thanks and congratulations again!

May God bless us all.


Jerry Naylor

Mt. Pleasant