From The Quad City Times (Illinois)
Imam Saad Baig and the Rev. Mike Schaab look at a brochure with information about the Catholic Church at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island in preparation for the Inter-religious Dialogue series that begins Thursday. (QUAD-CITY TIMES)
Being in a place such as the Quad-Cities, where most residents tend to be tolerant and some are interested in the world’s major religions, makes it possible to host joint classes on Islam, Judaism and Christianity in a special three-week series, a local religious leader said.
“I feel we have a unique situation here, among the United States,” the Rev. Mike Schaab from St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island said. “People of different faiths in other parts of the country and the world would be loath to walk down the street with one another.”
The Inter-religious Dialogue sessions begin Thursday and will be led by Schaab, Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities in Moline and Rabbi Tamar Grimm of the Tri-City Jewish Center in Rock Island.
“Seeing what is beautiful about another faith tradition is a life skill,” said Grimm, who also appreciates the fact that the Quad-City community is a place where such lessons can be held openly and celebrated.
This area is a very good location for interfaith dialogue, Baig agreed.
“We are blessed to have people from every walk of life here in the Quad-Cities,” he said. “We try to inform those individuals who come and who see value and potential in this kind of program.”
A rarity at first
Such cooperation between faiths was a novelty when it began many years ago. But it has evolved over time, Schaab said, including special commemorations of 9/11, and the recent 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, an event that attracted an overflow crowd to Augustana College in Rock Island.
The interfaith sessions are designed with a tone free from politics.