Here's the comment I left on the News-Press web site expressing my point a view--in contrast to some of the rather negative comments left by others. (Although I was pleased to see some of the positive comments stressing inclusion and welcome.)
As a Christian and a minister of a church here in town, I would like to celebrate the Islamic community of St. Joseph and their plans to build a mosque. I think it's great. My experiences with Muslims in other communities have been really fruitful in terms of dialogue and building mutual respect and understanding. My hope is that here in St. Joseph--here in our little part of the world--Christians and Muslims and believers of other faiths can demonstrate not just tolerance of one another but real love and respect. I believe that the more each of us regardless of our faith learns of different beliefs the more we all grow and learn. My experiences with Muslims in the past have helped me not only to understand an often misunderstood religion here in America but also they have helped me to understand more deeply what I cherish about my own faith as a Christian. I celebrate having a mosque here in St. Joe.
Grace and Peace,