Andrea Barron is performing an annual ritual: lighting two candles for a Passover Seder, the ceremonial retelling of the ancient Israelites' exodus from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. The traditional elements are all in place - including the Seder plate which holds unleavened bread, green vegetables, bitter herbs and a shank bone.
However, what is unusual about the evening’s Seder is that it is taking place in the basement of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), a mosque outside of Washington, D.C.
Rizwan Jaka, board member and chair of the interfaith committee at ADAMS, sees it as a natural fit.
“There’s commonality. We all believe in the freedom that’s the message of the exodus, that God saved Prophet Moses and his people from the pharaoh," says Jaka. "The striving for freedom is something that is important for everyone."
It’s the third time the Sterling, Virginia mosque has hosted the event and an air of friendly, mutual respect is evident. Barron arranges the seating so that Muslims and Jews alternate, which results in them sitting next to each other. Before the ceremony, Jaka welcomes participants with the Jewish greeting, “Shalom.”
“This is a large mosque. It is one of the largest mosques in the country. Mohamed Majid, the imam, is the president of ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America,” says Barron, who leads the Seder. “So these are not sort of marginal Muslims. These are mainstream Muslims who are holding a Passover Seder in a mosque.”...Why, it's as "mainstream," as the Muslim Brotherhood, of which it's an offshoot.
What's to be done about Jews who are pathologically clueless?Perhaps that should be the fifth question at the seder.
Update: In other interfaithy news...