Episcopalians and Muslims are working together in the Atlanta metro area to help refugees establish new lives in Georgia.
"We'll learn from each other and we'll grow together," said the Rev. Bob Hudak, rector of Church of the Nativity in Fayetteville. He is working with the Muslim Community Center of Atlanta and the Christian Council of Metro Atlanta on the refugee plan. The Muslim Community Center has become a popular meeting and prayer center and an anchor for the thriving Muslim community in Fayette that now numbers more than 500 people.
While the reception has been mostly warm, there are signs that some are hesitant to accept Muslims in the community following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. "The wounds haven't healed," said Hudak. "A lot of people won't come out and express their real opinions." For example, some Episcopalians were not prepared to support a joint remembrance service with Muslims to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks and promote tolerance.
Yet Hudak is committed to interfaith networking, pointing out that some of his church members attended a dinner during the month-long Muslim observance of Ramadan.
By Albert H. Lee