*The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon, rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, had just returned from vacation when he heard about a Florida pastor who was threatening to burn copies of the Koran, Islam’s holy book.
“I was disgusted,” said Bacon, whose Episcopal church is known for its progressive stance on many issues, interfaith relations among them. He said he thought: “Rather than burning Korans, we should be studying them.”
The Koran burning never took place. But from Bacon’s reaction was born “Islam 101,” a speaker series that ended Saturday with a lecture by Dr. Maher Hathout, senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a leading voice of Muslims in Southern California.
About 75 people went to the church to hear Hathout give a brief overview of “Islam in a nutshell,” then answer questions from a friendly audience that seemed concerned about both Muslim extremism and American hostility toward Islam.
Hathout told the audience that as the “new kid on the block” among the three Abrahamic faiths, which include Judaism and Christianity, Islam has had two options: “to be accepted by other religions or to fight with them.”
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