- An interfaith celebration of the holiday took place on Long Island Tuesday, pairing volunteers from a church and a mosque
- You could call it a blended family – ancient cousins of sorts – celebrating together.
LONG ISLAND, New York – Muslims and Christians in Long Island, New York, came together for a common good, sharing festive season and interfaith relations, CBC Local reported.
“We work together as a family,” said Dr. Isma Chaudry of the Islamic Center of Long Island.
“Coming together as one people being each other’s keepers, celebrating together, that is what a community does.”
The event, organized by Westbury United Methodist Church and Islamic Center of Long Island, was held for the fourth year in a row.
Volunteers of both faiths came together to offer 200 homeless and struggling families a better holiday.
“We all are Abrahamic faiths, and even the faiths that are not Abrahamic, calls us to our higher selves and calls us to always look after those among us that are less fortunate,” said Rev. Elon Sylvester of the Westbury United Methodist Church.
“We want to make sure our kids see how we need to live in this diverse nation, county,” said volunteer Faisal Zakaria.
“So much of the Qur’an and the Bible are so intertwined, with Jesus such a prominent figure in our faith as much as Christianity. So I think similarities is a great way to bring people together,” said volunteer Ahmed Chaudhry.
Children were given gifts and families were sent home with clothing and other essentials.
In 2010, the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) reported that the number of Muslims in the State of New York reached 392,953 people. According to the 2014 report of Pew Research Center, Muslims represented 2% of the total population of New York State.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he was born miraculously, conceived with no father, to his mother, Mary, but Muslims believe that he is not Son of God, because God begets not nor is He begotten
While Muslims regard Jesus as a holy prophet, most do not celebrate his birthday, a date historians note could not have been in December at all.
As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat or donating and charity is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It’s a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich, and is considered to be tax or obligatory alms.
Islamic Shari’ah also has another type of optional donation called Sadaqah. This term was used in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah for both zakat and charity.