When pastor Steve Stone initially heard of the mosque and Islamic center being erected on the sprawling land adjacent his church, his stomach tightened.
Then he raised a 6-foot sign reading, “Welcome to the Neighborhood.”
The issue for Stone and the 550-person Heartsong Church in Cordova, came down to one question:
“What would Jesus do if He were us? He would welcome the neighbor,” Stone said.
The Memphis Islamic Center, a nonprofit organization formed three years ago, is two weeks from breaking ground on the first phase of a multimillion-dollar complex.
While the 4,000-square-foot worship hall is being completed, Heartsong has opened its doors to its neighbors throughout the monthlong observance of Ramadan.
Under a gigantic cross constructed of salvaged wood, nearly 200 area Muslims have been gathering each night to pray.
“I think it’s helped break down a lot of barriers in both congregations,” said Islamic center board member Danish Siddiqui.