Religious Leaders Plan Interfaith 9/11 Service

A Fort Lauderdale church is hosting Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist speakers on Sunday morning

Days away from the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Unity Church of Fort Lauderdale is reciprocating a call from Florida Muslims for peace and understanding.

The church is hosting its 10th annual interfaith 9/11 anniversary service Sunday morning, an event Rev. Tita Calzada says is part of the church's effort the welcome people of all backgrounds. This Sunday, Calzada's message will aim to counter the hatred of 9/11.

"That’s precisely why it has to be done this weekend, because we can not continue to focus on the division," she said.

The Islamic Society's Bassem Chaaban is participating in the service, along with fellow speakers Rabbi Chaim Solomon and jazz great Nestor Torres, a Buddhist.

"Its about peace in the world. One God, one world," said Torres.

Chaaban hopes that the service helps people "come to a point where we might see each other as equals and as the same as everybody else."

"Its not so much trying to convince you that Jesus is the best or Mohammed is the best," Calzada notes. "We will never get to anywhere if we continue this."

"Each and every one of us has to do our job perfectly," adds Solomon. "We have to be the best Jew, or Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Holist, or Hindu, or what have you, to the greatest potential that God gave us. And we have to be unified with everyone else."

Bassem says now is the time for open minds to understand that extremist Muslims don’t represent what he and the Koran’s followers are truly about.

"People fear what they do not know," he said. "In reality Islam is a tool of peace and tolerance and acceptance of everybody. Whether they are Muslim or not."

The service, which will also feature jazz singer Nicole Henry, will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. at Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse.

"Ten years later," said Torres, "we have a tremendous opportunity to look back and reflect upon where we are in relation to where we were then."

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