NPR: In English Town, Muslims Lead Effort to Create Interfaith Haven
Inayat Omarji vividly remembers the worried reaction when he first looked into renovating the abandoned church in his neighborhood: “There’s a bearded young Muslim chap involved in a church! Whoops! He’s gonna turn it into a mosque!”
At the time, Omarji was head of the local council of mosques, but there already were three or four in his neighborhood in Bolton, England.
“What it needed is a place where people could meet, people can come to, people can socialize,” he says.
Omarji and other local Muslims decided to turn the church into a community center for everyone. That was ten years ago. Now, amid stories about religious friction and ethnic tensions, the transformation of All Souls Church provides a story of harmony and integration in one culturally diverse community. […]