“Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path—the path of all prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.”
These were the words that rang out over the congregation at The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA meeting in Portland, Oregon. Wajidi Said, co-founder of the Muslim Education Trust, led the attendees in the prayer to the Islamic deity—a move arranged by the Ecumenical and Interfaith ministry staff at the assembly.
The prayer was part of the “first order of business” during the meeting’s opening session, a time dedicated to praying for those affected by the Orlando shooting that occurred just weeks before.
“In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, let us praise the Lord … Peace be upon them and peace be upon Allah,” Said prayed. He also prayed peace on the “bigots” and “Islamaphobes.”
Later, at the conclusion of the session, Rev. Gradye Parsons offered an apology to anyone who was offended by the prayer. He assured the congregation that mistakes can be made, but the prayer was not an intentional one.
“It was never the intention to offend anyone, and we offer an apology to those who were offended,” Rev. Parsons said.
But the Presbyterian church still affirms that it will advocate for “positive relationships with people of other religious traditions” and is committed to fighting “the rise in Islamophobia.”