Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha Makes Historic Land Purchase

Dec 13, 2011, 18:40 ET from Tri-Faith Initiative

OMAHA, Neb., Dec.13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives of Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture (AIISC) and the Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha today announced each of the four entities has purchased land at 132nd and Pacific Streets in Omaha.  The four parcels, totaling approximately 35 acres, will be the future site of the Tri-Faith neighborhood. 

This unique project, the first of its kind in the world, deliberately co-locates a synagogue, church and mosque.  The site plan also includes aTri-Faith Center with social, educational and conference facilities enabling global study and communication. 

"Experience teaches us that interaction can transform intolerance, ignorance and fear into understanding, respect and trust," said Bob Freeman, Tri-Faith Initiative Board Chairman. "These basic values are shared by the three Abrahamic faiths and are rooted in our Midwestern culture."

The Tri-Faith Initiative and the three religious groups each raised funds and purchased their own parcel of land.  Additional funds will be raised to underwrite design and construction costs.  The first building is expected to be completed in 2013.

John Lehr, president of Temple Israel, remarked, "How serendipitous it is that on the very ground where Omaha's Jews once congregated at the only Country Club that would have us, we are now poised to congregate again, but this time, in a peaceful and beautiful multi-faith neighborhood, linked together by bridges of dialogue and mutual understanding!"

Tim Anderson, Canon for Episcopal Tri-Faith Ministries, commented, "In our baptismal covenant in the Episcopal Church we make the following promises: to seek and serve Christ in all persons; to love our neighbors as ourselves; to strive for justice and peace among all people; and to respect the dignity of every human being.  We will now have a unique opportunity to live out those promises with our new Jewish and Muslim neighbors." 

Dr. Syed M. Mohiuddin, president of the AIISC, underscored the global urgency of developing interfaith relationships.  "In a time when the world is engaged in building walls, this is a celebration of building bridges," he said. "As Holy Quran reminds us of the common bond among us, 'We believe in what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to you [Jews and Christians].  Our God and your God is one and the same: and it is to him we submit (Quran 29:46).'"

About the Tri-Faith Initiative
The Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha includes members of the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – and is committed to capitalizing on a unique opportunity to facilitate learning, tolerance and respect from intentionally collaborative efforts.

About Temple Israel
Temple Israel has served Omaha's Reform Jewish community for the past 140 years. The congregation strives to bridge tradition and modernity linking the community's rich history with fresh approaches to spirituality, lifelong learning and acts of justice.

About the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska
The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska represents all Episcopal churches and members in the state. It is a worship-oriented church whose members, by their faith, are called to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.

About The American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture
The AIISC's mission is to promote a better understanding of Islam in the western world. Grounded in faith and the beliefs of Islamic traditions, AIISC's vision is to establish an Islamic center which will have educational, religious and social components that affirm the core values of Islam: acceptance, compassion, equality, peace and justice.

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SOURCE Tri-Faith Initiative