(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City visited a mosque in Staten Island this week where he met with Muslims and other faith leaders. During his visit, he made the controversial statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Dolan spent over two hours in the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in the Tompkinsville area of the borough where he ate lunch with around 40 clergy and laity, according to StatenIslandLive.com.
"I thank God that this day has arrived," said Dolan to the religious leaders present. "I thank you for your welcome, I thank you for making me feel like a friend and a member of the family."
Dolan also questioned some of the Muslim leaders regarding their faith and was surprised at how much they had in common, coming to a divisive conclusion.
"We love God and he is the same God," said the Cardinal, ignoring the general Christian interpretation that views Allah as a separate, different god than the one of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Various Christian critics have previously blasted "Chrislam" as viable theology, as Muslims believe Jesus Christ was simply a prophet like Muhammad instead of the divine Son of God.
Zurkani Vardar, the president of the center, expressed his gratitude for Dolan's visit to the Staten Island Advance.
"We are very happy to have Cardinal Dolan here," he said. "It is very important for our future generations. The more we visit each other the more we understand."
Dolan's visit was a response to an invitation issued by the leaders of the center during a meeting with the archbishop back in January. He was unable to be reached by the time of this article's publishing for comment.
The Cardinal also made headlines earlier this month by blasting a proposal that would allow easier access to abortion in New York while also extending the legal time frame women are allowed receive one.
This bill labeled the Women's Equality Act is being pushed by NYC Governor Andrew Cuomo and is designed to "protect a woman's freedom of choice by enacting a reproductive health act." Dolan shot it down, deeming it a "killer."
"The second is the Woman's Equality Act. Of the ten proposals in this act, we're supportive of nine. Not bad. Sadly, the tenth is, literally, 'a killer,' as it increases access to abortion. In a state where 40 percent of babies are aborted," the Cardinal wrote in a press release.