By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
Followers of the Islamic and Jewish faiths are coming together for a special evening of sharing next week in Lynnwood.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community along with Temple B’nai Torah are hosting “Two Faiths, One God” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16 at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center in Lynnwood.
Muslims and Jews will be joining together to break their fasts and to reflect on the tradition of fasting. The event is free and open to the public.
This is the second time members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Temple B’nai Torah have gathered together. Last year the event was at the Temple B’nai Torah.
“It went very well,” said Waqas Malik, local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Vice-President. “It was attended by Jews and Muslims. There was discussion around the commonality between Judaism and Islam.”
While the two faiths are different, Malik said, “in the end we pray to the same God. We were able to pray at their synagogue. … It was quite powerful for everybody who attended.”
About 200 people were at the event last year and organizers are hoping for similar or increased numbers this year.
The scheduled speakers are Temple B’nai Torah Senior Rabbi Jim Mirel and local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community President Irfan Chaudhry. Some younger members from both communities also are scheduled to talk.
“The most important aspect from our side is to raise awareness,” Mirel said. “Our hope is that those who attend can understand two distinct, different faiths. They come from the same source. They worship the same God. We can fast together. We can build an environment where people are more understanding of the differences. Differences exist, but in the end, we have the same common goal: to create a society where people respect each other’s differences.”
Tisha B’av is a once a year Jewish fast this time of the year. It commemorates the destruction of a temple in ancient times. It’s a day of remembrance, Mirel said.
Muslims fast for a month during their annual observance of Ramadhan, which started this week. The fast starts in the morning before the sun rises and ends when the sun goes down in the evening. No food or water is taken during the day.
“It’s a pillar of the Islamic faith,” Malik said. “The primary goal of fasting is a higher level of spirituality. … It’s a time to make spiritual progress and to better yourself.”
The breaking of the fast with dinner is scheduled at 8:45 p.m. and the public is invited to come share the meal. Organizers are requesting the public to RSVP here or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The evening should be educational for anyone who attends, according to Mirel.
“I believe people will find out more about the Jewish faith and the faith of Islam,” he said. “They will learn about these two communities and learn how people can work together and the value of fasting and spiritual discipline.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center is located at 19212 Highway 99 in Lynnwood. For more information about Ahmadiyya Muslim Community go to http://www.amiseattle.org. For more information about Temple B’nai Torah see http://www.templebnaitorah.org.