HAGERSTOWN — When the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred, the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County was started to help people cope with the tragedies.
“A lot of people had questions about what (was) going on,” said Ed Poling, coordinator of the coalition.
After the attacks, the coalition held a forum at Hagerstown Community College and people at the gathering wanted to know more about Islam, said Poling, recalling that about 300 people attended the event.
The group has been holding forums and other events ever since, focusing on various issues like church and state, women in religion and the afterlife, he said.
On Sunday, the group held its annual Interfaith Family Picnic, at which several speakers reflected on the terrorist attacks and how they affected lives of Americans.
The Rev. Don Stevenson, founder of the coalition, recalled the string of events 10 years ago and how Americans were “brought to our knees. We rang our steeple bells, we opened our sanctuaries for prayers,” Stevenson told about 30 people at the picnic at Pangborn Park.
Stevenson said as he looked back at the attacks, he thought about Moses at the burning bush and how Moses’ reality went up in flames.
“At ground zero, so did ours,” Stevenson said.
Shahab Siddiqui, who represented the Islamic Society of Western Maryland, talked about the picture of America that people have in their minds and compared it to picture puzzles that people played with as kids.
Siddiqui said God is using people as pieces of the puzzle, and people need to play their role “to get to the right place.”
Siddiqui pleaded with people to rid society of problems like poverty, and ethnic and religious discrimination. Without making an effort to eliminate those issues, the picture will be hard to complete, Siddiqui said.