Catholic, Muslim women talk

MOLINE — “Grant us the life of true peace.”

Voices flowed together in the ancient words of a prayer of the Prophet Muhammad on Oct. 20 during the second session of the third annual Muslim-Catholic Women’s Dialogue.

Both sessions took place at the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities in Moline and were a joint effort of the Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, and Quad-City Muslim women.

Dr. Talia Alvi and Sister Joan McCorkell, OCD, spoke on “Muhammad and Jesus: Their Message” at the Oct. 13 dialogue. Dr. Lisa Zaynab Killinger and Cleon VanderVennet kept the dialogue going Oct. 20 with “Living Out Their Mission.”

“How do we walk this path according to Jesus? One way to define Jesus’ path on this earth was Jesus came to teach us a new way to live,” VanderVennet said. “Jesus taught this new way of life by the way he lived.”

“When Jesus asked what was the most important guideline,” VanderVennet continued, ” he said love God, above all, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Muslim version of The Golden Rule is “Nobody attains true faith until they wish for their brothers/sisters what they wish for themselves,” Killinger said.

The distinctions between Christianity and Islam are not as vast as some people may think, Killinger said. Both encourage followers to help the poor, orphans, widows, sick and hungry and to make peace.

“Live humbly. Certainly that was a guideline from Jesus and from Muhammad, peace be upon them both,” Killinger said.

Neither Jesus nor the Prophet took any special credit for their miracles and both taught tolerance and forgiveness, said Killinger. She encouraged listeners to practice those virtues, saying it does no good to drive people toward divisiveness.

The meeting ended with the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and every one, Christian and Muslim, saying “make me an instrument of your peace.”

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