Next-Door Neighbors: Muslims and Methodists

When a church and a mosque were both looking for land, they decided to share, in another sign of America's growing pluralism.

Excerpted with permission from "A New Religious America: How a Christian Country Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation."

On April 18, 1993, St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the Islamic Society of the East Bay in Fremont, California, broke ground together for a new church and a new mosque, to be built side by side. Six hundred people were there, including the mayor of Fremont.

The two communities mingled in an atmosphere of celebration and took turns at the shovel. They named the new frontage road that enters their property Peace Terrace.

One Nation, Under God

  • In an interview, Diana Eck says we are a Christian nation no longer.

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  • Another view: Despite pluralism, Rick Rood says, there is just one way to God.

  • Explore the website of Eck's Pluralism Project.
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    That April day they also dedicated the signs that would front the street on their property for months to come: Future Home of St. Paul United Methodist Church and Future Home of Islamic Center and Masjid. The message was a strong and clear witness to passersby that something new in the religious landscape of Fremont was being created here. Eventually, the dome and minaret and the church steeple, side by side, would convey in brick and stone the message of these signs: Muslims and Christians, next-door neighbors. This is one of America's heartening stories of bridge-building.

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