“Dodger Dogs, Mormons and Muslims: One couple’s moral authority builds interfaith bridges”
“SALT LAKE CITY — The 2015 annual “Mormon Night” at a Los Angeles Dodgers game happened to fall during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
So Steve and Judy Gilliland, a Mormon couple who observe Ramadan in solidarity with their numerous southern California Muslim friends, fasted throughout the day. They invited a group of local Islamic leaders to attend the game with them.
After sundown, the Mormons and Muslims ended the day’s fast together over Dodger Dogs.
“What’s more American Muslim than that?” said Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
What could be more like the Gillilands, too, he added, as active participants for a dozen years now in everything Muslim in southern California? The scene is also an example of the real friendship between leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Muslims not only in southern California but throughout the United States and in places around the world.
MPAC leaders honored the Gillilands earlier this month with the Community Changemaker Award for immersing themselves in the American Muslim experience as liaisons between LDS Church and Muslims. Their friends call them “the Muslim Christians among us” and say the Gillilands attend more Muslim events than Muslims do.
That’s why the Gillilands’ hearts break any time they find fellow Mormons exhibiting prejudice against Muslims and their beliefs.
The broader effort is international in scale. The LDS Church was the first interfaith partner of Islamic Relief USA, founded in 1993. The partnership deepened after the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami. Over the next four years, LDS Charities provided 20 percent of Islamic Relief’s budget. This year, LDS Charities has donated $600,000 for projects in Yemen and Somalia, according to Minhaj Hassan, a spokesman for Islamic Relief USA. ”
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