Organized by the South African ambassador in Washington, Ebrahim Rasool and several Islamic communities in the U.S. including the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and the Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim leaders were invited to lead the Friday prayer in the cathedral.
"Undoubtedly, this event builds a bridge among religious communities. We have held several events with members of other religions and these kinds of events give us the opportunity to be together, co-exist and strengthen the society as a whole," said Roula Allouch, chairperson of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' national board, another organizer of the event.
The National Cathedral's canon preceptor, Gina Gilland Campbell, welcomed the Muslim community by saying that they are pleased to host the Friday prayer.
She said that they have previously hosted several events together with Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews and many other religious groups.
The call to prayer – the adhan – was recited by All Dulles Area Muslim Society imam Mohammad Majid and the khutbah – the sermon before the prayer – was read by South African Ambassador Rasool.
The Friday prayer at the National Cathedral was significant in terms of interfaith dialogue, All Dulles Area Muslim Society board member Rizwan Jaka told AA, and said that they called for the protection of religious freedom through the event noting that all religions including Islam, Christianity, Judaism should be respected.
"We have previously held several events here. In 2008, we held an iftar dinner during Ramadan, but today, for the first time, we will hold Friday prayer here. We are for religious freedom," Jaka added.