Sunday, July 27, 2014

Utah Muslims work with LDS Church to help typhoon victims

By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

Published: Tue, Jan. 21 11:50 a.m. MST

 Bishop Dean M. Davies, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, embraces Abdul Afridi, center, a trustee from the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake. The Society's president, Aden Batar, is at right.

Bishop Dean M. Davies, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, embraces Abdul Afridi, center, a trustee from the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake. The Society's president, Aden Batar, is at right.

(Jason Swensen)

A friendship based on trust and mutual respect has grown in recent years between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah’s Muslim community.

In the past, local Muslim leaders have participated in Latter-day Saint-sponsored interfaith gatherings and the LDS Church assisted with the construction of a mosque in West Valley City. Latter-day Saints also extended hands of fellowship to Utah Muslims in the volatile days following Sept. 11, 2001.

Congregants from both faiths have also worked together in times of need and disaster.

That partnership reached a new level Jan. 10 when the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake made a significant donation to the LDS Church Humanitarian Fund to assist victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.

Bishop Dean M. Davies, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, accepted a donation from the Islamic Society of almost $120,000 during a ceremony at the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City.

He assured Society leaders that the generous gift would be used entirely to assist those in need following Typhoon Haiyan. On Nov. 8, 2013, the Category 5 super typhoon ravaged several Filipino islands, claiming more than 6,000 lives and causing an estimated $1.5 billion in damage.

“I’m just overwhelmed by your generosity,” he said. “We are honored to work together with you.”

Not long after the storm hit, an anonymous donor gave the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake $100,000 for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. The donor challenged other members of the Islamic Society to augment his gift, resulting in an additional $19,000 being raised.

Society leaders decided to turn the funds over to the LDS Humanitarian Services.

“We knew that the money would go to help those people in need,” said Islamic Society President Aden Batar.

“With the [LDS Church’s] support, we can help many people,” added trustee Abdul Afridi.

Bishop Davies called the Islamic Center “a sacred place” where worshippers gather to pray together. He added that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches “to have a prayer in our hearts continually.”

Mr. Batar spoke of his own relationships with several Latter-day Saints, including many he considers “brothers and friends.”

At the end of the ceremony, Bishop Davies and several other representatives from LDS Humanitarian Services exchanged embraces with their friends from the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake.

“It feels so good to see people come together and work together to help those in need,” he said.

jswensen@desnews.com

Recommended
1. desert
Potsdam, 00,
Jan. 21, 2014

Quran 63.10

And spend [in the way of Allah ] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous."

We have much in common, very very much !

2. Gildas
LOGAN, UT,
Jan. 21, 2014

I am deeply touched and happy to hear of this co-operation between my Church and those of the Moslem faith in Utah. I was touched also to learn of the assistance given by my LDS Church to construct the mosque in question, and their (Mohammedan) assistance to us in our efforts in the Philippines to help (probably) predominantly Roman Catholic survivors of a terrible devastation.

I have read the Koran and, according to what I read, it would seem that sincere Moslems believe in the same moral code as we do. I also know that Moslems are encouraged to give charitably as we are. Every Moslem is not a threat to the West, and I question whether those who hold violently hostile views against other faiths, are exactly sincere in their own professions of faith, whatever the faith they profess.

3. Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00,
Jan. 21, 2014

desert
Potsdam, 00

Agreed!
We do have so much in common!
Oh so very, very much.

AsA, peace be upon you my friend...

4. antodav
TAMPA, FL,
Jan. 25, 2014

Mormons sometimes seem to get along better with Muslims in America than we do with other Christians. The irony.