I asked my pastor last night about what those interfaith meetings are about. It sounds like it mostly covers organizing charitable activities, though sometimes they pull off joint events. They do an interfaith Thanksgiving service every year (I didn't go to the last one, for reasons I don't remember). He said they also did a combined prayer service after the 9/11 attacks.
The group includes most of the religious institutions in and around Culver City, comprising various Christian churches, the Krishna temple, at least one synagogue and the local mosque. The last is of special interest because it almost got blown up not long after 9/11. I actually didn't really follow the story when it happened, so I asked my pastor why the bombers chose that mosque in particular. He said he didn't know, but it may just be because it's large, conspicuous, and very mosque-y. It certainly is conspicuous: it's on a major road near downtown Culver, and it's beautifully decorated with a tall spire covered with Arabic writing.
I suspect that the real reason is probably the name: King Fahad, or Fahd, is the king of Saudi Arabia. The place was funded by one of his sons, which is why it's so big and beautiful. The pastor says after the initial construction the prince flew over and declared it wasn't fancy enough, so he shipped over his own stoneworkers and ordered hand-woven carpets from Iran and what have you. Apparently, they actually toned it down somewhat from the prince's plan, because the neighbors complained about how blindingly bright it all was.
I don't know why the prince decided to fund a mosque in Culver City. The origin suggests it would be promoting Wahhabism, though if they're working with the infidels in the interfaith meetings I doubt they're terribly extremist. There's a nice article about the mosque here, but it doesn't go into the question.Posted by Camassia at May 26, 2004 03:07 PM | TrackBack