JASON RANTZ

Seattle’s Idris Mosque: We’re not props

Feb 21, 2017, 5:26 AM | Updated: 1:11 pm

islamic faith...

Hisham Farajallah is secretary of board of trustees for the Idris Mosque in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood. (Jason Rantz, KIRO Radio)

(Jason Rantz, KIRO Radio)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray originally planned to hold his State of the City address in front of the full council at the Idris Mosque in the Northgate neighborhood on Tuesday.

After concerns over the separation of church and state were raised, that plan was altered to be a special presentation with no official council meeting.

Related: Mayor Murray alters plans for state of the city speech at Idris Mosque

“Do you feel like you’re being treated as props to make a political point?” KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz asked the mosque’s secretary on the board of trustees.

“We don’t think so,” Hisham Farajallah replied.

Mayor Murray thanked the Idris Mosque for inviting him to speak at the place of worship, but Farajallah explained there was no official invite for the address.

“What happened is the mayor’s office contacted us to inquire about having the State of the City address at the mosque,” Farajallah said. “With no question, we welcomed him.”

“He is a frequent visitor to the mosque,” he said. “During the month of Ramadan we always have our (local) leadership visit the mosque and have dinner.”

Farajallah went on to say that the mosque is entirely Murray’s to hold court in during the presentation. In fact, Farajallah assured Rantz that there are no special rules concerning the separation of men and women. Mayor Murray’s husband will be attending.

“They are more than welcome,” Farajallah said.

“For you, personally, when you see someone like Ed Murray, who is married to his long-time partner, how do you resolve that conflict in knowing the man as opposed to the doctrine of your faith?” KIRO Radio’s Zak Burns asked.

“The faith is between you and God, not between any human beings,” Farajallah said. “We treat people as people. We reach out to people as people. We don’t ask about their faith. We don’t ask about their orientation. They are welcome as a human being, and we love them as a human being.”

“I’m not saying the Islamic faith is a passive faith,” Farajallah said. “It is absolutely not. It is just like the Christian faith, like the Jewish faith. It is a faith. The question for us, as a human being, is how we reach out. We reach out to people as a human being. And actually, it is part and parcel of the Islamic faith not to judge any human being, no matter what. You cannot judge people. Only God can judge people.”

Mayor Murray has said his visit is meant to send a message — that the city stands in solidarity with the Muslim community amid tensions and fears under President Trump’s administration.

The Trump administration

“Nobody saw the 5-year-old kids who have had nightmares,” Farajallah said of Muslim children nervous about Trump. “Nobody has heard of the first graders who are afraid to go to school. And they are U.S. born citizens.”

“For adults, it’s easier for us because (we) understand we are under the law of the Constitution,” he said. “As long as the Constitution is respected and preserved, (adults) have no fear, they have no issues.”

Farajallah said he has faith in the Constitution.

“It’s not President Trump himself (that I find scary),” Farajallah said. “He is the president, and I personally believe we have a Constitution, he has to abide by it. What made me more worried is that 40 percent of the nation voted for the slogans he said. That is scary.”

Perceptions of Islam

Why so many people voted for a man who has said controversial things about the Islamic faith and Muslims could be attributed to the faith’s image, Zak Burns pointed out. Burns noted that there are some groups committing acts of terror in the name of the religion.

“I think most if it is because of a misunderstanding of what the faith is,” Farajallah said. “There are a few individuals … out of 1.6 billion human beings who misrepresent, misuse or misinterpret the faith for their own benefits and gains. If we focus on the other side of the faith, Muslims contribute to all civilizations, including the United States.”

Mayor Murray gave a special presentation of his state of the city address at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Idris Mosque.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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