WASHINGTON — A woman who proclaimed the name of Jesus Christ during the first-ever Islamic Jumaa prayer gathering at Washington’s National Cathedral was ejected from the building on Friday.
“Jesus Christ died on that cross over there,” the unidentified woman declared as she stood in the front of the room. “He is the reason why we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our lord and savior!”
A man nearby immediately approached her and attempted to reach for her arm, but she pulled away.
“We have built, and allowed you here in mosques across this country,” she continued. “Why can’t you worship in your mosque, and leave our churches alone?”
Another man approached as she was speaking and began to escort her out.
According to reports, the woman made the declaration immediately following the opening announcements that commenced this afternoon.
As previously reported, while the national cathedral has hosted interfaith gatherings in the past, the Islamic Jumaa prayers presented today at the historic Episcopalian site were the first of its kind. The idea for the invitation originated during the planning stage for the memorial service for African apartheid leader Nelson Mandela as talks between the cathedral’s liturgical director, Gina Campbell, and South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool took place.
The cathedral stated earlier this week that the goal of the event is to facilitate greater acceptance between Christians and Muslims, calling the Islamic Jumaa prayers at the house of worship a “powerful symbolic gesture.”
“Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality,” representatives for the National Cathedral wrote in a press release about the matter. “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.”
“This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” Rasool added. “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.”
In addition to Campbell and Rasool, Masjid Muhammad of The Nation’s Mosque, representatives from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America and Muslim Public Affairs Council were all in attendance. The event was also facilitated so that Muslims would face Mecca during the Jumaa prayers.
Washington’s National Cathedral has traditionally been recognized as the cathedral of the presidents, being used for inaugural-based prayer services for the past 106 years. It has also hosted the funeral services for Presidents Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Dwight Eisenhower, and was dubbed the “National House of Prayer” by the U.S. Congress.
As previously reported, last year, over two thousand people joined Barack Obama and Joseph Biden for an interfaith service surrounding the president’s re-inauguration. The service included a variety of guests from a number of religions, who presented Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish prayers for Obama.
Leaders of the National Cathedral have also come out in support of same-sex “marriage,” and have opened the facility to be used for “gay marriages.”