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Muslim Ambassador Encourages Local Interfaith Understanding

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is one of the world's leading Muslim authors and travels the world encouraging different faith communities to break down their barriers of suspicion and intolerance. KSMU's Jennifer Moore met up with him in Springfield yesterday.

While most people across the Ozarks were hunkered down in their homes last night due to the snow, an extraordinary thing was happening in Springfield. Although Muslims, Jews and Christians have been struggling for decades in the Middle East to make peace with one another, yesterday's visit of a Muslim ambassador to Springfield brought all three faiths together for dialogue and understanding.

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is one of the world's leading Muslim authors and travels the world encouraging different faith communities to break down their barriers of suspicion and intolerance. Ahmed, who was hosted by Drury University, met with leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Bahai communities.

I caught up with the Ambassador for a brief Q and A.

Tom Vansant, pastor of the Pathways United Methodist Church in Springfield, was one of religious leaders who the heard the Ambassador speak.

Rabbi Rita Sherwin, leader of the Temple Israel congregation, met Akbar and the two of them--Muslim and Jew--were fast friends.

Akbar currently holds the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University in Washington, D.C. He said he was flattered by the response he received in Springfield, and has said he plans to return.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.