WASHINGTON – The century-old Church of Epiphany has hosted famous visitors from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin D. Roosevelt. But for several years it has been home to a budding relationship between two different faiths – Islam and Christianity.
Every Friday at 1 p.m., instead of the church bells that usually ring on the hour, you will hear the Muslim call to prayer, called the “azan.”
“The Muslim population is growing,” said Abrar Ansari, a management consultant who also is an interfaith coordinator for the Muslim community. “We do need places of worship.”
The Adams Center, one of the largest Muslim community centers in the area, has a mosque with more than 10,000 followers. But members needed more room and more convenience for a faith that requires followers to pray five times a day. Five years ago, they asked officials of the Church of the Epiphany if they would open their doors to the Muslim faithful.
“And we said we would be happy to give them space,” said the Rev. Randolph Charles. In return, the Adams Center “makes a small contribution,” Charles said.
Farooq Syed, president of the Adams Center, said that in today’s pluralistic society, “we must understand each other, we must understand each other’s needs, and we must accommodate each other.”