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Ahead Of Commemoration Of March, Local Church Played Host To Interfaith Voices

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The Shiloh Baptist Church was founded by freed slaves some 150 years ago, and yesterday it played host to interfaith voices praising Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream.
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The Shiloh Baptist Church was founded by freed slaves some 150 years ago, and yesterday it played host to interfaith voices praising Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream.

Washington's Shiloh Baptist Church is quiet this morning, but yesterday it was filled with voices of many faiths praising Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington.

Ahead of the formal celebrations of the fifty years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, multi-denominational voices were raised to ponder the meaning of that dream to their particular faith traditions. They did so from a historic pulpit, the Shiloh Baptist church in Northwest Washington, founded by freed slaves in 1863.

Singing in Gurmukhi, a sacred version of the Punjabi language, Dr. Rajwant Singh, with the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, spoke the words of Guru Nanak, the founderof the Sikh faith. "He says in all of us there is a light. People like the Reverend Martin Luther King, those that are inspired by God, can reveal there is a light within you," said Singh.

Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl appealed to the universality of man inherent in Doctor King's dream. "We recognize that people from east and west, north and south are all invited to join one great human family that walks hand in hand. We cannot walk alone," he said.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly said Dr. King brought hope and ignited a spiritual rebirth for Jews recovering from the horrors of the Holocaust. "In his remarkable similarity to our prophet Moses, the proof we desperately sought that God had not forsaken all of humankind," she said.

For Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of America, the connection to Dr. King's dream was more intimate. "It made it possible for me to stand before you and made it possible for my five daughters to join hands with Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus to build a community that love one another, care about one another, and stand for justice and fairness for all," he shared.

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