WASHINGTON — Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups announced today the first celebration of Muslim Friday prayers (Jumaa) at the Cathedral on Friday, November 14.
Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality. It demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions.
What: Muslim Friday Prayers at Washington National Cathedral
When: Friday, November 14, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, director of liturgy for Washington National Cathedral
South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool
All Dulles Area Muslim Society
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Islamic Society of North America
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Masjid Muhammad, The Nation’s Mosque
Where: Washington National Cathedral, North Transept
Media RSVP: Natalie Butz, West End Strategy Team
[email protected], 202-776-7700, by Thursday, November 13
The opportunity grew out of a trusted relationship between the Cathedral’s liturgical director, the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, and South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, who met while planning the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Rasool, who is also an Islamic religious thinker and leader, brought together Muslim leaders from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), Masjid Muhammad (the Nation’s Mosque), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), The Nation’s Mosque and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) for this historic event.
“Deep relationships come out of prayer,” said Canon Campbell. “Different connections come out of being in prayer—beyond the political or academic.”
Ambassador Rasool thanked Campbell for the Cathedral’s generous offer to use Friday prayers as a beginning to a deeper conversation and partnership. “This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” said Rasool. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”
The Cathedral has welcomed Muslims in the past, often at interfaith services and events, as well as at the Interfaith Conference of Greater Washington’s annual concert and specific programs such as the 2008 Ramadan Iftar at the Cathedral College. But this is the first time the Cathedral has invited Muslims to come and lead their own prayers in a space known as a house of prayer for all people.
Planners hope that the people around the world will take note of this service and the welcome extended by the Cathedral so that Muslims everywhere will adopt a reciprocal welcome of Christians by Muslims.
Media are invited to arrive by 11:30 a.m. Muslim and Cathedral leaders will be available before and after for interviews. Following opening remarks about this historic event, the prayers and sermons will begin at approximately 12:20 and conclude before 1:00 p.m. Worshipers are being invited from the five Muslim communities. Limited seating will be available for invited observers and media.
The prayers will be offered in the north transept, an area of the Cathedral with arches and limited iconography that provide an ideal space—almost mosque-like—with the appropriate orientation for Muslim prayers.
SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral