Arabic Presbyterian Fellowship learning to reach out to Muslim neighbors
by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Five years ago many Egyptians came to the U.S. during the time of the Arab Spring and Muslim Brotherhood rule. They harbored a desire to worship in the language of their heart, Arabic, which they describe as “the language of heaven.”
Hearing this, the Rev. Adel Malek, who is from Egypt but has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years, helped begin the Arabic Presbyterian Fellowship near Los Angeles.
Now this former engineer turned theology teacher and pastor is helping them reach out to those are different than them—including Muslims—to avoid repeating the discrimination they felt back home.
“It’s much easier to discriminate [against] others if you have been discriminated [against] by them. You are just paying back, taking revenge,” Malek said. “But did Jesus do that? I think not.”
One of the Arabic Fellowship leaders, Nader Hanna, has taken that message to heart. Recently he was invited by Sufi Muslim friends to come to their mosque to speak about Jesus. Hanna says while none of them showed any interest in following Jesus, he loved being with them.
“My message is please, reach out to your Muslim neighbors,” he said. “Now more than ever they need American friends who will understand and know them for who they are.”
Malek says “going the extra mile to know other people” is very important and that he will continue to encourage Arabic Presbyterian Fellowship to “build bridges” with those who have different beliefs than them.
Pointing out that Jesus was accused of eating and drinking with others who were not like him, he says, “I’m doing what my master did.”
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