Members of the White Rock Muslim Association and First United Church enjoy a buffet dinner of traditional dishes prepared by WRMA members

Members of the White Rock Muslim Association and First United Church enjoy a buffet dinner of traditional dishes prepared by WRMA members

Foundation built on faith

Relationship-building event hosted by White Rock Muslim Association

The White Rock Muslim Association welcomed First United Church members to their prayer centre Feb. 13, returning a bridge-building gesture that was offered by the church last month.

It was “an exciting and monumental” evening, WRMA president Asad Syed said in a news release.

Interfaith meetingThe event featured discussion, relationship-building and dinner prepared by members of the Muslim community, as well as an introduction and welcome by Syed, an “enlightening and inspirational” talk about the important role of women in Islam by Surrey physician Dr. Hala Ahmed, and an address by author and local Islamic teacher Shams Jilani, who described the five core pillars of the Islamic faith and answered questions about Islam.

The WRMA was established in 2006. Its members – from White Rock, South Surrey and Surrey – host regular community events and Eid celebrations, as well as participate in volunteer activities.

Last month, First United Church officials hosted ‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbours’, an evening aimed at dispelling fear and misinformation regarding Muslims. It was proposed in the context of concerns last fall around the plight of Syrian refugees and the church’s quest to sponsor a Syrian family.

According to Tuesday’s release, First United officials were enthusiastic in expressing their desire for future collaboration between the two groups.

“This event truly served as a milestone in promoting unity and collaboration among various faith groups in the White Rock community,” Syed states.