Benjamin Franklin on interfaith engagement

 

In 1739, Benjamin Franklin became involved with one of the earliest documented places intended for interfaith use in America. From its inception, it was built with the idea of being inclusive of all—including Muslims. In his writings, Franklin made clear the intent: 

Both house and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people at Philadelphia; the design in building not being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.

In other words, the “preaching-house” was to be a meeting place open to people of all faiths, including a
representative from the religious hierarchy of the “Muslim world,” even so far as allowing him to “preach” Islam in America.

Source: atlantamasjid.com

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