The Standard, one of the largest newspapers in Kenya, published an uplifting story on the “Mosque of Jesus Christ, Son of Mary” in Kaloleni, Kisumu County (Kenya).
The mosque’s name was carefully chosen by the local Muslim Association in an effort to build bridges and heal the rift between the Muslim community and the local Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The Christian and Muslim communities had recently tussled over ownership of the parcel of land on which the mosque now rests. The dispute is said to have lasted for thirty five years.
“We are not enemies with Christians,” says Abdul Rashid, a muezzin of the Mosque of Jesus Christ, Son of Mary.
Some Christians in Kisumu County welcomed the mosque saying it would build peaceful coexistence.
“It is a good gesture. I think that it is a strong indication that Muslims and Christians regard each other as brothers and sisters,” said Joseph Odhiambo, a Christian.
Various news sources reported that the name of the masjid, the Arabic word for mosque, caused an internet sensation. Christians were reportedly perplexed that the Muslim community would dedicate their prayer space to Jesus.
The Qur’an, the Islamic holy book, states that Jesus was strengthened with the holy spirit (Qur’an 2:287) and that he will be honored in this world and the hereafter (Qur’an 3:45).
Muhammad, the final prophet of the Islamic tradition, is reported to have said that he and Jesus were like brothers from different mothers.
Muslims typically consider Jesus to be a prophet of God who will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment to establish peace and defeat the anti-Christ.
The Mosque of Jesus Christ, Son of Mary is not the only masjid in the world name after Jesus and/or Mary.
A mosque in Abu Dhabi (UAE) is named “Mariam, Umm Isa,” which translations to “Mary, Mother of Jesus.”
I also had the honor of giving a talk at the Maryam Islamic Center in Sugar Land, Texas. Maryam is the Arabic name for Mary.
Do you know of any other mosques around the world that are named after “Christian figures”?