RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- An influential Muslim scholar will speak at an interfaith service and rally on Monday in Ridgewood to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Imam Zaid Shakir will deliver remarks addressing the theme, “Together in Hope,” as The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee of Ridgewood and Glen Rock marks the 35th year of its annual celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy.
The community is invited to attend this free event, which will take place on at the Ridgewood United Methodist Church, 100 Dayton St., in Ridgewood.
Shakir, widely regarded as one of the most influential Muslim scholars in the West, will be the guest speaker during an interfaith worship service beginning at 10 a.m.
The morning service will be followed by an outdoor rally at 11:30 a.m. and a community lunch at 12:15 p.m.
The program will also feature Ridgewood and Glen Rock student speakers and musical performances by the Indian Hills Chamber Choir and Men of Umoja chorus.
“Imam Zaid Shakir is a highly respected voice on Islam and African-American issues and a leader in the emergence of a uniquely western Islamic tradition,” said committee co-chair Alice Newton. “At a time when civil rights issues dominate the headlines, we welcome his insights and inspiration as we share Dr. King’s hopeful message of finding common ground and working together to create positive change.”
A native of Berkeley, California, Imam Zaid Shakir is co-founder, trustee and a faculty member of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in the United States.
He accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force, and co-founded and served as Imam of Masjid al-Islam in New Haven, Connecticut from 1988 to 1994. He was also an adjunct professor of Political Science and Arabic at Southern Connecticut State University until his departure for Syria to further his studies in the traditional Islamic sciences.
Shakir returned to the U.S. in 2001 and later moved back to California, where he co-founded Zaytuna College in Berkeley in 2009.
He is a writer and a sought-after lecturer on African-American issues and Islam in the American context.
The annual Ridgewood/Glen Rock Martin Luther King Jr. celebration began in 1983 in an effort to unite area residents, regardless of faith or ethnic background, in worship and action as they work towards peace and justice for all.
More than 20 religious groups, local government and civic organizations participate in and support the event each year.
For more information contact Alice Newton at 201-951-9903; email MLKgrrwd@gmail.com; or visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Glen Rock/Ridgewood, N.J. on Facebook .