Eating from the same plate

November 20th, 2015
Muslim Unity Center Imam Almasmari

Imam Almasmari stands in the grand front entryway of the Muslim Unity Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim walk into a cafeteria …

… and I followed them.

(Hey, there was free food!)

Filling our plates with delicious, warm, flat breads, hummus and fresh falafel, we adjourned to our meeting.

Ever since writing my first book, Spiritual Wanderer, I’ve been part of a loose organization of Michigan Communicators who meet bi-monthly at different religious institutions across Metro-Detroit. Founded by my publisher, David Crumm, our group — representing faiths across the vast spiritual spectrum — has visited a wide array of places of worship: mosques, temples, churches, etc.

Even though Islam is in the news lately, our visit to The Muslim Unity Center in West Bloomfield, MI was planned long ago. Still, it gave our host — Imam Almasmari — an opportunity to talk about his peaceful religion and how pathological young men have turned away from their teachings, actually doing the exact opposite of what Mohammed stood for.

“ISIS is terribly misguided. They had the teachings of the prophet, then they rejected them.”

Almasmari loves the area and came back from abroad to live, work and worship in Motown. He proudly flies the American flag, smack in front of the Unity Center.

Thankfully, there was very little talk about the preponderance of hate speech, Islamophobia and belligerent misinformation about their religion lately. Mostly, we spoke about upcoming ecumenical and interfaith events, Jewish and Christian celebrations and the comprehensive biography of Catholic priest Father Cunningham, written by another former colleague of mine, Jack Kresnak.

We munched the food that the kind women laid out for us, shared our news, laughed a little and had what can only be described as a routine, everyday meeting. It was unique by the very fact that it was unremarkable.

Given all the insane anti-Islamic talk of the day, it was wonderful to be welcomed into their place of worship, given a tour, fed yummy food and thanked for just showing up.

Only one or two of us were on the same spiritual page as our hosts, but it’s safe to say we were ALL on the same plate.

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