The joy of Muslim-Catholic dialogue
A day of welcome for Scarboro Missioners at a Toronto Mosque
Together, Muslims and Catholics form one-third of the world's population. This statistic alone provides ample reason for these two faith traditions to be in conversation with one another. And the good news is that all over the world Muslims and Catholics are talking.
Scarboro lay and priest members lived the reality of this Muslim-Catholic encounter last June when we spent a day at the Islamic Foundation mosque in the Scarborough region of Toronto.
Our first experience at this Islamic house of worship was a taste of Muslim hospitality. A number of mosque officials warmly welcomed us and then opened the day with a Muslim prayer and a reading from the Qur'an.
During a joyous day-long visit to the Islamic Foundation mosque in Toronto, Scarboro lay and priest missioners present their hosts with a gift of the Golden Rule poster. Scarboro members shared in prayer, a meal and a tour of the mosque, and there was a very open sharing of information concerning Islam.
Our Muslim hosts introduced us to the basics of Islam in an animated question-and-answer session. They invited us to ask the hard questions about such things as the role of women in Muslim society and the meaning of jihad.
Following lunch, we made our way to the worship area of the mosque for prayer (salat). Muslims pray five times a day. We attended the second of these daily prayer sessions, which last only six or seven minutes and contain passages from the Qur'an.
We spent the rest of our day touring what we discovered was a very large mosque. The highlight of the tour was the school. The Islamic Foundation mosque is home to a fully-functioning school that operates Monday to Friday providing instruction from kindergarten to Grade 11. We were invited into a number of classrooms and chatted with teachers and students.
This visit was an interesting and exhilarating experience. We left the mosque filled with much hope about the future relationship between the world's two largest religions.
And now Scarboro missioners can truly say that we know the joy of Muslim-Catholic dialogue.