Bud Kennedy

There’s no room for hate at Christian-Muslim get-together

‘I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive,’ says Shahid Shafi on being American and a Muslim

A small group within the Tarrant County Republican Party has been calling for Dr. Shahid Shafi to be removed from his post as vice chairman because he is a Muslim. Many more have come out in support of Shafi.
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A small group within the Tarrant County Republican Party has been calling for Dr. Shahid Shafi to be removed from his post as vice chairman because he is a Muslim. Many more have come out in support of Shafi.

Christians and Muslims will sing, dine and laugh side by side as neighbors Sunday.

But one political activist sees nothing fun about the “Building Bridges With Fellow Texans” event at NorthWood Church.

The idea of Christians and Muslims making friends or having fun together is “heresy” — “repulsive and impossible,” according to a poison-pen e-mail from Dorrie O’Brien of Grand Prairie, who fears Islamic extremism lurking beneath that platter of hummus.

Pastor Bob Roberts, founder and 26-year leader of the Southern Baptist-affiliated church, said he’s almost at a loss for words.

“They’re trying to stop Christians and Muslims from getting together as neighbors,” Roberts said Thursday after O’Brien’s e-mail spread.

Roberts has blogged at www.glocal.net about complaints from “super-fundamentalist angry mean-spirited people who are driven by hate of others more than love of God.”

The event, at 5 p.m., does not include worship, he said. An Irving mosque organized Muslims for the event, timed as a unity gathering after the 9-11 anniversary.

“We disagree on who Jesus is, but we can still come together and treat each other in a loving, respectful way and talk about how to serve our community as responsible leaders and Texans,” Roberts said.

He called the e-mails “intimidation.”

The church has received only a few complaints, he said.

Last year, NorthWood hosted a forum for Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders. Church members also work with Muslim neighbors to feed adults at a nearby senior center.

O’Brien, 64, is a Tarrant County Republican Party precinct chairwoman, convention delegate and regular club and Tea Party speaker.

She leads a chapter of Florida-based ACT! for America, which warns against radical Islam.

Her e-mail accused NorthWood of promoting “Chrislam.” She also called church members “stupefyingly ignorant.”

By telephone, she said “unity” events are secretly promoted by radical Islamists.

She said coming over to share dinner and sing patriotic songs is “just one of their tricks.”

Yes. Really.

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Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 16 Texas Legislature sessions. First on the scene of a 1988 DFW Airport crash, he interviewed passengers running from the burning plane. He made his first appearance in the paper before he was born: He was sold for $600 in the adoption classifieds.
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