Cordova church welcomes new Islamic Center to the neighborhood - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cordova church welcomes new Islamic Center to the neighborhood

By Jamel Major - bio | email

CORDOVA, TN (WMC-TV) - In New York protesters continue to demonstrate against a proposed mosque near the site of the September 11th attacks.  This protest comes days after a Nashville Mosque site was vandalized.  But here in the Mid-South there's a different sentiment.  A Cordova church congregation is welcoming a new Islamic Center.

The words on the sign said it all, "Heartsong Church welcomes Memphis Islamic Center to the neighborhood."

"Once we put up the sign, within three days people from Memphis Islamic Center contacted us and were overwhelmed with emotion that we would be so welcoming."

Steve Stone, pastor of Heartsong Church, said when he heard about plans for the multimillion dollar Memphis Islamic Center Complex being built near his church, he knew he had to react.

"I don't know a lot about Islam and I only know one fellow who is a Muslim," said Pastor Stone.  "So I knew it was going to be a learning process for me, but we follow Jesus and he tells us to love our neighbors."

Stone said he hopes that by putting out a welcome mat for Muslims, it will send a strong message to those who may have associated Christians with being anti-Islam.

"People that associate Christians with folks that are afraid of or don't like Muslims, I can't judge those people that are Christian.  I believe that to take the name of Christ and do hateful things is a real insult."

To prove his point, Stone told Action News 5 that the Heartsong Church congregation is taking its new relationship with members of the Memphis Islamic Center one step further.

"Their facility is not quite finished and they came and asked us if they might be able to use our facility for Ramadan prayers which we took as a high compliment." 

Stone said it's the beginning of a friendship he hopes will inspire others to love their neighbors.

According to Pastor Stone, the congregations of both churches have gotten to know each other on a first name basis.  They even call each other brother and sister.

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