Atlanta Faith Leaders Pray for Peace after Testing Year

Faith leaders and civic figures gathered Sunday, January 3, in downtown Atlanta in a prayer vigil for peace.  

The event followed a difficult year for many people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate of disunity prior to the November presidential elections, deaths in police custody.

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“We are in a vulnerable place,” the Rev. Ed Bacon, interim rector at Atlanta’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, told attendees at the event held outside the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

“We bring all of these concerns together in prayer,” he said, AJC reported.

The event was attended by leaders from other faiths and organizations, including Grady Healthcare CEO John Haupert; Bill Clothier, from Veterans for Responsible Leadership; and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Bilal Mahmud, a founder of the Atlanta mosque the Al-Farooq Masjid, asked attendees to pray “for the healing in our fractured, polarized country and world.

“We pray for the compassionate and humble hearts, the strength to forgive,” he said.

There are an estimated 75,000 Muslims in the area and approximately 35 mosques. The largest mosque, Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta, is located on 14th Street in Midtown Atlanta.

Muslims constitute 1.3% per cent of the population, giving Atlanta the sixth largest Muslim proportion in the country.