An Anglican church in Perth, Australia, has opened its doors for Muslims' Friday prayers for Ramadan in what is seen as the first time that Christians and Muslims will spend time together during the holy month of fasting.
In the last six years, Rev. Peter Humphries has allowed local Muslims to hold their Friday prayers at the St. Paul's Anglican church in Beaconsfield. This year, the Christian church hosted the Friday prayers for the month of Ramadan, ABC reported.
Although the two religious groups are often portrayed as in conflict with each other, they are now trying to understand their differences and find common ground. Imam Faizel Chothia, who often attends Rev. Humphries' Sunday service, said the best way to get past the misunderstandings between Christians and Muslims is to let them share a meal.
Rev. Humphries, on the other hand, explained that all of the ancient manuscripts point to unity among human beings.
"Somewhere within everybody there is something that we share in common, we're all part of one story," the reverend said. "All the ancient writings — the revelation of Christ, the whole lot — points towards a oneness of humanity."
Humphries added, "It's a completely different story toward the us and them that has permeated the world up 'till now."
So far, the Christian and Muslim communities of Perth have expressed support for the move. For Nelson Gardiner, who has been a member of the Anglican church since 1969, they are "human beings first" and their religion, creed, and background do not really matter.
Right now, Imam Chothia is planning to put up a mosque next to the Anglican church. He thinks the future place of worship will be more than just a house of prayer for Muslims, but also a place where they can learn and celebrate diversity.
Religious leaders in Australia are not the only ones showing solidarity with Muslims celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. On June 10, local Canadian politicians decided to join the Muslims in their iftar, or the breaking of their daily fast, the Stratford Beacon Herald reported.
Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson, Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, and Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece showed up at the Stratford Mosque on Saturday evening as Muslims gathered for their iftar. The three politicians also met with Imam Omar Alshehri in his office for a short orientation on Ramadan.
After dinner, Nater told the Muslims that it was an honor for them to be able to join in on their celebration of Ramadan. He also highlighted the importance of learning about the practices of their friends and neighbors in order to overcome the divisions that exist between different communities.