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Forum at Macon City Hall honors diversity in religion

By Matt Barnwell - This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Dr. Farhan Siddiqui, center, performs a traditional call to men's prayer in the foyer of City Hall on Tuesday during a forum to discuss Islam and mark the approaching end of Ramadan.

Dr. Farhan Siddiqui, center, performs a traditional call to muslim prayer in the foyer of City Hall on Tuesday during a forum to discuss Islam and mark the approaching end of Ramadan.

 

The sun had set, and it was time for the Maghrib prayer.

A young Muslim clergyman, clad entirely in white, faced east toward Mecca.

The Macon City Council dais sat a few feet in front of him. Behind him, filling the space in front of the council chamber seats, stood two rows of men, including Jack Ellis, Macon's mayor. Three young women lined up in the rear.

Their hands were clasped to their chests. As the imam chanted in Arabic, the group bent at the waist and then kneeled to the ground, pressing their foreheads to the floor. They repeated the movement several times. A pile of shoes, removed in observance of the fourth prayer of the day, lay cluttered to the side.

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The religious entreaty closed a Tuesday session sponsored by Ellis and the Macon Islamic Center that was called to discuss Islam and mark the approaching end of Ramadan. When it was over, the faithful adjourned to the lobby of City Hall to break the day's fast on a meal of salad, chicken, rice and pasta.

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Our city of Macon Mayor, Jack Ellis, announces embracing Islam

Macon Mayor, Jack EllisMacon Mayor Jack Ellis converted from Christianity to Islam and is now seeking to change his legal name to Hakim Mansour Ellis.

Ellis, who was raised as a Christian in Macon, a city located in central Georgia, announced that he became a Sunni Muslim during a ceremony in the west African nation of Senegal.

He said he has been studying the holy Qur’an for years, and that Islam was his ancestor’s religion before they were brought to North America as slaves.

"Why does one become a Christian?" Ellis said. "You do it because it feels right. ... To me it's no big deal. But people like to know what you believe in."

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2007 National Theme: MIST
"Scattered Images: Reflecting Faith, Reclaiming Our Future"

Today, more so than ever before, Muslims and Islam are in the public eye, and people are constantly being bombarded with a thousand different images regarding who Muslims are and what they represent. These scattered images, awkwardly taped together, create a convoluted and inaccurate reflection of our faith. How do we, as youth, create a better image of Islam that aids us in reclaiming our future as an Ummah?

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Islamic Center of Macon is a nonprofit organization located in Macon, Ga, USA