Islamic Society visits Church of Christ

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Hazel Dell — The Islamic Society of Southwest Washington is a short stroll across Northeast 68th Street from the First Congregational United Church of Christ. On April 28, three members of the Islamic Society visited the church to talk about Islam in Vancouver. The event was planned well before the Boston Marathon bombing.

The Rev. Brooks Berndt said: "When events like the Boston Marathon bombing happen, in the broader society there can be an indiscriminate backlash against Islam." Khalid Khan from the Islamic Society pointed out the tremendous diversity in a religion with 1.6 billion adherents. And Khalid Elolaimi addressed how Islam itself is frequently blamed for terrorism.

"When people act, they act on their own behalf," he said. "They don't act on behalf of their religion or their state or country."

For example, he said, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh acted on his own behalf and is not labeled a "Christian terrorist" the way others are called "Muslim terrorists."