Concern Rises Ahead of Islamic Prayer in D.C.

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A massive Islamic prayer service scheduled to take place on Capitol Hill, Friday, is raising concerns among Christians.

Some 50,000 Muslims are expected to take part in the event being billed as a "Day of Islamic Unity." The rally starts at 1 pm. ET, Sept. 25.

Organizers say the goal is to illustrate the "wonderful diversity of Islam." The Web site for the event states:

"We intend to manifest Islam's majestic spiritual principals (sic) as revealed by Allah to our beloved prophet ... Likewise; we intend to inspire a new generation of Muslim to work for the greater good of all people. We shall serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin."

The Web site concludes each page with "Our Time Has Come."

Widespread Internet rumors about the rally have even warranted an article on the government's truth squad on Factcheck.org

Much of the negative backlash has centered on the spiritual nature of the event, and on the possible motivations of the group's organizers.

The Washington Times reported Wednesday that Hassen Abdellah, president of the New Jersey mosque organizing the event, has a history of representing Islamic terrorists.

However, Abdellah told the New Jersey Star-Ledger in August that the purpose of the rally is to pray "for the soul of America" and to show other Americans that "we love America."

While many Christians are uncomfortable with a large gathering of Muslims on the U.S. Capitol, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, argues that Christians should instead focus on reaching out to Muslims. 

Mahoney and a handful of other evangelical Christian leaders joined the Islamic prayer rally organizers at a Tuesday morning press conference on Capitol Hill.

"Our whole purpose was to say Christians are not the enemies of Muslims and that the heart of Christ reaches out to all groups," he told the Washington Times about Tuesday's reception. "We also want to celebrate the wonderful traditions of America that say no one - regardless of their faith - should be persecuted and harassed by the government." 

Mahoney spoke with CBN News about these Christian concerns and how they can use this as opportunity to reach out. Click play for more.

*Originally published September 23, 2009

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