Harford Muslims, Jews, Christians honor Martin Luther King Jr.

More than 200 Jews, Christians and Muslims from congregations in Havre de Grace and Abingdon gathered Sunday at Temple Adas Shalom Sunday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Love your Neighbor: Learn to Live Together, Inspired by the Legacy of MLK" was sponsored by Masjid Al-Falaah in Abingdon, Temple Adas Shalom in Havre de Grace and St James AME Church in Havre de Grace.


The choirs sang together not only "America the Beautiful" and "Kumbaya," but also a specially composed version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Temple Adas Shalom Rabbi Gila Ruskin said.

After members of Temple Adas Shalom lifted the cloth on their finished mosaic, a bedazzled river cutting through multicolored shores, the lyrics of a worship song poured over the crowd: "Let justice roll like a river, like a river let it roll."

Among the events at the gathering including Havre de Grace Police Chief Teresa Walter speaking about developing relationships among communities as the best way to keep the peace and prevent crime; a member of the mosque who is in the armed forces reading the preamble of the Constitution; Sheikh Boloch speaking about the message of Love Your Neighbor As Yourself from Moses, Jesus and Mohammed; and a member of St James AME Church reciting a selection from MLK's I Have a Dream speech.

"Then 200 of us sat around tables in our social hall with facilitators leading discussions of what are the obstacles to our living together in peace, and how we propose learning to live together," Ruskin said.

A closing ceremony included each person placing a lit candle on a table lined with aluminum foil, and each group proposing aloud how they would bring light to living together in love and respect.

As night fell in Abingdon Saturday, several hundred people poured into tents set up outside Harford County Education Society's Masjid Al Falaah, eager to connect with friends as they broke their daylong fast.

"We not only learned each other's songs, we heard each other's yearnings and hopes," Rehan Khan, of Masjid Al-Falaah, said. "We not only prayed together, we sought the support and comfort of one another as we confront our fears. We not only gathered to give lip-service to the fellowship of all people, we joined hands and hearts to be the beloved community which Dr. King called the 'salvation of our civilization.'"

At the end, organizers issued a joint declaration.

"We the descendants of Abraham declare the following: We have a strong common bond with each other; We are stronger together; We resolve to connect with each other; We resolve to spread the love around us; We resolve to work for unity."

"God says to Abraham you are blessed and through you all the families on earth are blessed," they said.