Easton Islamic Leader Reflects on Sept. 11
Rizwan Butt will join other local clergy members Sunday at an interfaith service at Trinity Episcopal Church.
In Sept. of 2001, Easton's Muslim community was five or six families meeting to worship at the chapel at Easton Hospital.
"We really didn't have much of a presence," said Rizwan Butt, president of the Easton Phillipsburg Muslim Association.
The fact that such an organization now exists should tell you that the region's Muslims now have a presence in the community.
And so far, they've been fortunate. After three years in Easton, the center has yet to experience any sort of anti-Muslim backlash, Butt said.
They figured they would, he said. Graffitti, at the very least, or some sort of vandalism.
"None of that happened," Butt said.
On Sunday, Butt will take part in Trinity Episcopal Church's Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Hope, which will feature representatives from several different Easton faith institutions.
The service -- scheduled for 1:30 p.m. -- will also feature music from the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, a chamber orchestra and students in the Easton Area High School choir. It will be simulcast on the Trinity church website.
Butt's contribution will be some verses from the Quran. His message will be more about hope than remembrance; in Islam, he said, there isn't a local of focus on memorials and eulogies.
Instead, the focus is on the lessons that can be learned from horrific events like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"God has given us a promise that he'll give us tests and trials in our lives," Butt said.
The question, he said, is how people respond.
"Are we going to be the ones who'll lose hope?" he asked.
Or will we have patience, he continued, and realize "We still have time...and hope."