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Teatime For Peace at Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church

IMG_0698On February 29th, we went to a "Teatime for Peace" at the Westshore Unitarian Church in Rocky River where people of all faiths talked with each other and found out that they had more in common than what they initially thought. The main reason for putting it on was to challenge misperceptions of Muslims and Islam that have been growing more prevalent since 9/11; especially in lieu of statements made by political leaders during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. One of the attendees was Mr. John McCumber who was so touched by what he saw and heard that he resolved to coordinate "Teatime for Peace" on Cleveland's east side.

Thanks to Mr. McCumber's efforts, it seemed like 100 people gathered together on Monday, May 2nd, at the Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church in Lyndhurst. Once more, people of different faiths were encouraged to share tables and ask each other questions concerning familial immigration experiences; individual values that may have originated from one's faith; racial/religious stereotypes picked up from the media; and personal experiences with faiths other than one's own.

As Mr. M. Isam Zaiem, the former president of CAIR, stated, "Tonight was about building friendships for the future of our children."

Other speakers included Mr. Murat Gurer of the Turkish Cultural Center in Lakewood who reiterated that one of the purposes for this affair was to "reinforce what we have in common even though we may do different things in our daily lives."

Mr. Gurer went on to share some historical facts about Islam and its place in the United States. Something that we found quite interesting was that Thomas Jefferson owned a Qur'an and studied it thoroughly. He believed that it was only a matter of time until a significant number of Muslims would immigrate to the United States and had this in mind when he wrote the U.S. Constitution.

Another dynamic speaker was Ms. Haya Sanyurah from CAIR who shared some experiences that she had teaching Sunday school where she learned from Muslim children about acts of discrimination that they had to endure and the effect this had on them.

As the evening neared its end, people were asked to share what they learned. One man who was a Christian said that he loved talking to two Muslims and how much this helped him to realize that "we are all children of God."

The evening concluded appropriately with all of us coming together for a special number in song, "What a Wonderful World."


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.


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