Muslim Leader And Gay Activist Search For Common Ground | WGLT

Muslim Leader And Gay Activist Search For Common Ground

Jun 23, 2016

Dave Bentlin, left, with the Prairie Pride Coalition, in GLT's studios with Sheheryar Muftee of the Islamic Center of Bloomington-Normal.
Credit Judith Valente / WGLT

An unprecedented encounter took place in Bloomington last week in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub.

When St. John's Lutheran Church held a prayer vigil for those killed and wounded at the Pulse nightclub, about a dozen members of the local Islamic community came to pay their respects. For many of the Muslims, it was their first time in a Christian Church.

There to greet them was Dave Bentlin of the Prairie Pride Coalition, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Among the Muslim visitors was Sheheryar Muftee of the Islamic Center of Bloomington-Normal. 

WGLT invited the two men to our studios to engage in a National Public Radio Story Corps-type conversation. They talked about what has driven their communities apart in the past, what they share in common, and how both communities might move forward. By the end of the conversation, both expressed a desire to not only continue talking, but build a friendship.