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Ohio Church Invites Muslim Speaker

Ohio Church Invites Muslim Speaker
Masroor Malik, left, the Rev. Denis Paul and Dr. Ahmed Banna pose for a photo during a potluck dinner at the Muslim Association of Cleveland East. Lynne Killgore

CLEVELAND EAST – Looking for things they have in common, the president of a Cleveland East Muslim association, in Ohio, has been invited by the city’s Unitarian Church to give a speech to its congregation and bring Islam closer to them.

“We have more in common than you think,” Dr. Ahmed Banna, a cardiologist, also the president of the Richmond Heights-based Muslim Association of Cleveland East, told News Herald.

Banna is invited to East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church’s Millennium Salon, to be held on 13th of August.

At the event, he will tell the congregation about Muslim prayers and other Islamic beliefs.

Men and women are separated at prayer time, but both wash up before prayer and remove their shoes, Masroor Malik of Solon, the congregation’s education secretary, said.

“The prayers are a constant reminder of our connection to God,” Malik said.

The Friday prayers and the monthly potluck are open to those of other faiths.

“We are a very diverse congregation of people from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, so the potluck usually has a good mixture of different dishes,” he said.

Members of East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church — including its pastor, the Rev. Denis Paul — attended the most recent potluck.

Despite a belief that most Muslims are Arabs, that is not the case, Banna said.

“Only about 10 percent of Muslims speak Arabic,” he said. “We teach classic Arabic to children and adults since that’s the language of the Quran.”

Like Christians and Jews, Muslims believe in one God and the Ten Commandments, he said.

“We call God ‘Allah,’” he said.

Banna is speaking at East Shore as part of his mission to communicate about Islam and dispel misconceptions.

“When people get second-hand information, they don’t hear the message. That’s when stereotypes and misunderstandings arise.”

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