Muslims, Christians to gather at Texas church

Hoping to nurture good will between two major faiths, Christians and Muslims will mingle Sunday at a Texas barbecue at a Keller church.

The Rev. Bob Roberts, pastor of the 3,000-member NorthWood Church, said the gathering is intended to create friendships and recruit Muslims and Christians who will work together on a series of community projects.

“We’ve got a big Muslim issue in America,” Roberts said. “There are 2 billion Christians in the world and 1.5 billion Muslims. If we don’t learn how to get along, we are going to have a very sick world.”

Those attending will be served beef slaughtered according to Islamic rules.

It’s a follow-up to a similar service at NorthWood – attended by 1,500 Muslims and 1,000 Christians – shortly after the 10th anniversary of 9-11. That service, labeled “repulsive” by a political activist, was highly emotional.

At one point, Roberts told the Muslims, “We love you.” After a standing ovation, a Muslim in the audience stood and replied to Roberts, “We love you too.”

At Sunday’s event, Muslims and Christians will sign up to work together on several volunteer projects, including painting and remodeling homes and renovating a Haltom City baseball field. Also, women will take part in cooking clubs, sharing recipes from their different cultures.

Among the speakers will be U.S. Rep. Kay Granger; former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley, director of the Center for Global Strategies in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Azhar Azeez, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield, Ind.

Star-Telegram, 18 January 2013