The principles of MPAC’s Mustard Seed Project

“A mustard seed may not be the most familiar picture, but we can all agree that it reminds us of something small, miniscule, microscopic even. Regardless of how recognizable it is to the average human, this seed is one of the many subtle similarities that Muslims and Christians share
within their own respective scriptures. And it just so happened to be the guiding light behind a very special gathering last Thursday.

On February 16th, UICA partnered with the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Central Church of Arizona invited a number of Christians and Muslims from across Arizona’s Valley to gather, share a meal, and have conversations, otherwise known as the principles of MPAC’s Mustard Seed Project. The event was hosted in the lovely Glendale branch of Central Christian Church, whose members welcomed the attendees with open arms. The intent of this gathering was to collectively watch a documentary about a doctor in Lubbock, Texas, who shares her spiritual and personal journey of being a Muslim among the local Christian Community. Titled “The Healer”, this film tells the resilient story of Dr. Ebtesam Attaya Islam and tackles topics such as the COVID 19 pandemic, motherhood, and the importance of compassion. Inspired by her journey, the attendees shared their reflections, lessons, and most insightful scenes from the documentary, leading to such fruitful dialogues between the individuals of each faith.

Dr.Islam joined the gathering virtually and was able to answer specific questions and build on these fruitful conversations. Alongside her presence, Imam Didmar Faja of the United Islamic Center of Arizona the, Pastor Dean Kuest of Central Christian Church Glendale and President of The Muslim Public Affairs Council Salam Al Marayati shared their shared intentions of collaborating in interfaith spaces, committing to building these bonds, and upholding these values that are shared among the two faiths.

This collaboration, this discussion, this sharing of a meal all symbolizes the meaning behind the mustard seed. In both religions, the mustard seed is a metaphor used to remind believers that the smallest of deeds and actions are what make the biggest differences, and that no effort goes to waste nor does it go forgotten. This mindset is a reminder to members of all faiths that even the seemingly small scale activities, gatherings, and efforts are truly what unite us all on a large scale.

On behalf of all of the attendees, MPAC thanks Dr. Ebtesam Islam on her services and contributions to her community in Texas, and the world at large. A special thank you as well to the primary organizers of this event, Valentina Cantori and Wadan Khan, fellows of MPAC’s Mustard Seed Project. We look forward to hosting more events and opportunities like such in the future, to ensure that we live up to and achieve the mustard seed mindset. “