What a gathering it was. About 150 faith leaders came together at the Interfaith Dinner on May 29, 2011 which took place at the ICNA – MAS Convention in Hartford, CT. A tradition which started in 2005 and since then every year at the Convention faith leaders from Hartford area are invited to this dinner.
The Dinner program was opened with the recitation of the Quran by Sheikh Ayman. Rebecca Minor and Dr. Jawad Arif served as the moderators for the program. On behalf of Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, Rabia Chaudry welcomed the guests and Naeem Baig, Vice President of ICNA, welcomed them on behalf of ICNA and MAS.
Dr. Talat Sultan, former President of ICNA, introduced ICNA and its projects and programs and Dr. Ahmad El Bendary, President of MAS, briefly talked about the universality of the Message of Quran.
On the topic of “Scripture as Guidance”, 3 scholars, Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg from Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Rev. Dick Allen from South Congregational Church of Glastonbury and Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub from Hartford Seminary gave very thought provoking presentations.
After the presentations, Dr. Reza Mansoor and Naeem Baig moderated a Table Discussion on Peace and Reconciliation Forum 9/11. A presenter from each table was later give a couple of minutes to share the conclusion from their respective table. A few of the suggestions were as follows:
1. Interfaith Youth Forums must be initiated by faith organizations.
2. It must be conveyed that all faiths were victims in those attacks.
3. Interfaith social service programs would be a good way in bringing the communities closer to one another.
After the delicious dinner the program was concluded by the prayer made by Chaplain Bilal Ansari.