Dearborn – Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron was among religious leaders gathering and offering shows of solidarity with the Muslim community at the Islamic Center of America on Holy Thursday afternoon.
The gathering – which garnered participation from hundreds – was in anticipation of an anti-Islamic protest expected to take place on Friday.
“My presence here today at Islamic Center of America is but a small token of the local Catholic Christian community’s support for you at a difficult time,” Archbishop Vigneron said in front of Muslim and other religious leaders and members of the various religions. “When some voices choose to promote intolerance, and even hatred, I come as a voice of peace.”
Archbishop Vigneron pointed out that the Catholic Church, during its Second Vatican Council, revealed its respect for Muslims. He cited a document titled Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) that stated that “a sincere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding; for the benefit of all men, let them together preserve and promote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values.”
“We have an opportunity to show the nation and the world that it is possible for peoples of many different faith to respect one another and to foster mutual understanding,” the archbishop said, drawing applause from those gathered.
The event’s host, Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, thanked the many Christian and Jewish leaders for being present. He said a proposed plan for an extremist to burn a Quran was not just an insult to Islam, but “an insult to all monotheistic religions” because the Quran contains praise of Moses and Christ, as well.
“I would like particularly to thank our non-Muslim brothers and sisters who came to the Islamic Center to show solidarity and unity with the Muslim community,” the imam added.
As a show of solidarity, participants at the Islamic Center gathered in front of the mosque, symbolizing their solidarity in defending it from attacks.