Faith is an intensely personal matter for me and I never thought that I would weigh in on the topic in a new dialogue and debate forum called islamcomment.com.
A paragraph from the article follows
In the 18th century, the town of Sür (Tyre in Lebanon) did not have a single Christian living in it. Jirjis Mishaqa (a Greek Catholic businessman - and one of my ancestors (NB)) was persuaded by its two ruling Mutawäli sheikhs to move to the area with his family. When the Christians there had grown in numbers, work was begun on the church of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Noting that there was no mosque for the local Shi’ite Muslim community, Jirjis Mishaqa thought it would be a good thing to build a mosque for the Muslims with his own funds. It was begun simultaneously with the building of the church. When he was called in by the Vizier of Sayda he said:
“I see Muslims coming to Sür, merchants, transients and wandering dervishes, for whom there is no place of shelter or gathering for prayer. Indeed the lack of a mosque in the city is a matter that attracts criticism of its inhabitants abroad. The Creator does not permit such negligence”
The vizier was delighted with the response and asked Jirjis to share in the good work by leaving the minaret to be built from his own money.
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