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Outreach and the bonds of friendship celebrated

The Islamic Congregation of La Cañada Flintridge hosted a summertime potluck dinner in a local backyard on Saturday.

Members from St. George Episcopal Church, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and Church of the Lighted Window just to name a few of the faiths, joined members of the congregation for a relaxing summer evening of food, conversation and newly forged friendships.

In the almost two years since its formation, the Islamic Congregation has reached out across faiths to promote understanding and find ways to support the community. The meetings are normally held at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.

During the first meetings, the congregation invited members of the Islamic community to speak on their faith and discuss many of the misconceptions that have surrounded their religion especially since the 911 Twin Towers attack. In those early meetings, many of the Islamic faith would highlight the differences between what was being said of their religion and how the Koran, their book of belief, actually reads. The main focus of the congregation was to build community understanding and become a true interfaith outreach.


If the summer potluck was any indication, the plan is working. Those from all faiths joined together in the calming setting of the Alamdaris’ backyard to enjoy a meal and speak on a variety of subjects.

The night was a time to just relax and enjoy each others company, said Levent Akbarut, congregation member. But it was also a time to give back. The congregation presented a check to San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity.

“This is for the work Habitat for Humanity does for the less fortunate,” said Mohamed Rady, congregation member.

The check was presented to Howard Woo, treasurer of the San Gabriel organization. He said that the check will go a long way to helping with the construction of the homes.


“This is really going to help us out,” he said.

Many members of the congregation, as well as the other faith members at the dinner, have volunteered to help in the construction sponsored by Habitat for Humanity in the Glendale area.

“We want to contribute anyway we can,” Rady said. “It is part of our religion and our vision to help the community.”

Carol Martin, Habitat board member, said that congregation members had volunteered many hours in the recently completed Palmer project and are now working on the Kenwood project, both in Glendale.

“This really crosses all barriers,” Martin said.

She added that they have volunteers from all religions and all walks of life. “At the construction site they are just members of the community.”

Martin said that the organization is always looking for more volunteers.

Anyone 18 years or older can volunteer to help by going online to or calling (626) 792-3838.