Muslim, Mormon women sew friendship during quilting project
RIVERSIDE - They sat shoulder to shoulder, Muslim women next to Mormon women, hunched over bright fabric as they learned to quilt.
As the conversations grew comfortable, the women discovered their religions, and their lives, had many common threads.
Their worship, community service, husbands and children, good schools, safe neighborhoods -- and the list went on for the more than 100 who met Saturday morning at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Riverside.
The women made quilts for Project Linus, which donates blankets to sick or traumatized children. They also put together hygiene kits for a nearby women's shelter.
"It's so amazing that two groups of women with very distinct beliefs can put that aside, come together and serve," said Simone Bannister, of Riverside.
A majority of the Muslim women came to Riverside from the Bait-ul-Hameed Mosque in Chino. A majority of the women came from Pakistan but have lived in the United States for years.
Bina Majeed, who brought together the Muslim women for the event, said their religion teaches them humanity for any race or religion. It's about people.
But Aisha Mateen, who like Majeed, lives in Rancho Cucamonga, said once the talk turns to family, everyone has common ground.
"We start asking how many kids they've got," Mateen said. "We laugh and we all have the same problems."
You'd be surprised how universal getting a teenager to clean his room is, many of the women said with a knowing smile.
Neither group hesitated to ask questions about the other's religion or customs. The event was for women only, allowing the Muslim women to leave their faces uncovered. Some choose to show modesty in public around other men in accordance with their beliefs.
Karen Ward, stake president of the Relief Society for the 10 wards of LDS through Riverside, said this is the second time the groups have met and have found their new friends "very open, welcoming and delightful."
Ward said the group plans on getting together for more service projects in the future.