Building a dialogue

By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  December 4, 2008

Furthermore, the board, executive council and staff of MAS Boston are diverse ethnically, with Arabs in the minority. Africans and African-Americans serve on all three, and 70 percent of the daily constituents of the center are either African-American or African. This center serves a more diverse community than most community spaces in the world, and its leadership is proud and embracing of that. Indeed, we strive to uphold the Prophet Muhammad’s saying in his final sermon, that “no Arab is superior over a non-Arab and no non-Arab is superior over an Arab.”

Overall, this cultural center stands for: the betterment of the community, fighting discrimination, interfaith partnership, religious literacy among Bostonians of all religions, a welcoming atmosphere for Muslims and those of other faiths, meaningful participation in a pluralistic democracy, and the dignity and equality of all people.

Signed,
Imam Taalib Mahdee
Mosque Of The Quran In Dorchester
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq
Mosque For The Praising Of God In Roxbury
M. Bilal Kaleem
Executive Director, Muslim American Society Of Boston

David S. Bernstein responds
The Roxbury mosque has a contentious history, as “Menino’s Mosque” documents. The letters’ multiple signatories from the interfaith community are welcome commentary, adding to the discussion, though they do not address many issues raised in the article. For example, while the signatories offer a different interpretation of the 20-year record, they do not dispute the facts laid out in the story. Nor do they address that the mosque appears to be neglecting its contractual obligation to maintain two neighborhood parks abutting the mosque. More broadly, whatever one thinks of the favorable deal the city struck with the mosque, there remains a question as to whether this is the best way for the city to conduct itself in the future.

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