Nightly News | September 09, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (New Orleans): We are back. And in light of so many of the stories we've been covering in the news lately -- the fracas over the Muslim community center in New York ; the fracas over the threatened burning of the Quran in Florida , now subsided -- tonight we have a story about a different kind of community and a different kind of relationship. Our report tonight from NBC 's Ron Mott in suburban Memphis .
RON MOTT reporting: Last night's call to prayer outside Memphis was answered by the Muslim
faithful as usual: shoes removed, rugs laid, all bowed east toward Mecca , singing Allah 's praises. But what makes this year's Ramadan different is where they're worshiping, a Christian church called Heartsong , a sort of " welcome to the neighborhood " gift while a new mosque is built nearby.
Pastor STEVE STONE: We even see people actually throw coins in it.
MOTT: Pastor Steve Stone instructed his members how to respond to naysayers.
Pastor STONE: They ask you, 'Why in the world are you doing that?' Get a real puzzled look on your face and say, 'We're loving our neighbors.'
MOTT: Neighbors ever since the Memphis Islamic Center bought 31 acres in the heart of the Bible Belt . Unlike other parts of the country, there have been no signs of protests. And when these doors open in the next few weeks, Muslim leaders say they hope the folks down the street they now call their Christian brothers and sisters will fill that home here as much as those who practice Islam .
Ms. SUZANNE KNIGHT: Hello. We're glad you're here.
MOTT: It's a feeling church-goers like Suzanne Knight wanted to share during the holiest month of the Islamic calendar .
Ms. KNIGHT: I think I will grow personally in learning to know about their culture and respecting the fact that they embrace a faith, even if it's not the faith that I embrace.
Ms. TIFFANY MUNOZ (Heartsong Church Member): You see people for people and not what they may believe.
MOTT: Heartsong 's Muslim guests say it was more than just a place to kneel in prayer.
Mr. DANISH SIDDIQUI (Memphis Islamic Center): We've broken down a lot of stereotypes, broken down a lot of questions that people had about each other's faith. Thank you for showing the spirit of God's love.
MOTT: With Ramadan ending, these Muslims thanked their hosts, promising an even stronger relationship in the future.
Ms. ANMOL KHAN (Worshipper): Together, as two faith-based communities, I think we can definitely live and hopefully show America an -- just an example of living together peacefully.
MOTT: One nation, two faiths under God and the same roof. Ron Mott, NBC News, Cordova,