ENID, Okla. — An Enid church will host a discussion on a topic some might deem sensitive — Islam.
Jerry Galbreath, former senior minister at University Place Christian Church, said the church often hosts series on a variety of topics.
“We have handled some delicate situations, and Islam is still within the framework of controversial issues and a lot of lack of understanding,” said Galbreath, who holds a doctorate.
The church will host Imam Imad Enchassi, founder, imam and president of Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, to provide a four-part series of presentations and discussions about Islam in October, Galbreath said.
“Dr. Enchassi is going to give us some idea of what Islam is like, and how to deal with such things as radical Islam and terrorists,” he said.
This series will offer important insight into the religion and people who practice it, Galbreath said.
“This will offer an opportunity for people to come together with some understanding that Muslims are upstanding, honorable people, and that Islam has some continuity with Christianity and Judaism,” he said. “Many passages in the Quran are from New Testament and Hebrew scriptures.”
There’s a language barrier that causes some confusion, Galbreath said.
“If we spoke Arabic, we would call God ‘Allah,’ because that’s the Arabic word for ‘God,’” he said. “It’s not that Allah is another god. Some erroneously and ignorantly say Muslims worship another god.”
There are similarities among the religions, Galbreath said.
“There’s some continuity but there’s also some differences in doctrine, but it’s nothing to fight about,” he said. “It’s something to come together on … If we focus on God — and minimize the differences between Jesus and Mohammed and Moses — we can find our commonality.”
The course strives to start conversations and discussions on common ground, Galbreath said.
“Islam is a peaceful religion,” he said. “The world ‘shalom’ is from the same rootage as ‘Islam,’ which means ‘peace.’”
The series doesn’t seek to propagate Islam or advocate Christianity above Islam, Galbreath said.
“It’s educational,” he said. “We are hoping individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds will participate. … We have little contact with Islam here in Enid. This could be one’s initial contact with Islam.”
The series offers four three-hour sessions 3-6 p.m. Sundays in October. Registration for the whole series is $20.
For information, call Galbreath at (580) 234-7252.