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A Muslim chaplain’s prayer to the U.S. House

(left to right) U.S. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.); Imam Abdullah Antepli, a Muslim leader at Duke University; U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the Rev. Pat Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House in Washington, D.C. on October 4, 2017. Abdullah Antepli was the first imam to deliver the opening prayer to the House in three years. (Kristie Boyd/United States House of Representatives)

Imam Abdullah Antepli, chief representative of Muslim Affairs at Duke University’s School of Arts & Sciences, delivered the opening prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday. Starting in 2003, Antepli was a chaplain at Duke, Wesleyan University and Hartford Seminary. He was nominated to give the prayer, which is offered days the House is in session, by his representative, U.S. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.). Price introduced him as “a prophetic voice for peace and justice, an engaging teacher and counselor.” Antepli’s is the eighth Muslim prayer offered in the House since 2001, and the first in three years, according to Duke:

The Holy One,

As your creation,  we call you by different names, experience you through multiple paths. Our human diversity is from you. As the creator of all, you made us different. Enable us to understand, appreciate and celebrate our differences. Teach and guide us to turn these differences into opportunities, richness and strength. Prevent us from turning them into sources of division, polarization, hate and bigotry.

The Most Merciful One,

This incredibly diverse nation of ours is one of the most successful attempts to understand your wisdom in creating us different. We are far from being perfect but came a long way in creating a multi-cultural, multi-religious and pluralistic society by making in America: “You will be judged by what you do, not by who you are” as one of our foundational promise.

The Most Compassionate One,

Help us to preserve our achievements in this regard. Do not let the destructive forces of division and exclusion erode our ideals, our firm commitment to diversity and pluralism. Empower us and these legislators to further improve the culture of inclusion and welcome to all in our nation and beyond.

The Most Forgiving One,

Even if and when we forget you, please do not forget us.
In your most holy and beautiful names we pray,

Clarification: An earlier version of this story did not clearly identify Imam Abdullah Antepli’s role as a Muslim leader at Duke University.

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