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Photo Exhibit Puts Focus on Religious Similarities
The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)

She geared up in 2005: A one-page summary of the exhibit evolved into a three-page proposal. Then she went raising money ($73,000), recruiting photographers and inviting families. In the end, the 11 families represented a wide spectrum, from Reform Jews to Pentecostal Christians to African Americans who'd converted to Islam.

Dr. Masood Khan, a cardiologist and Muslim who worships with his family at Masjid Mustafa and Masjid Ash-Shaheed, was apprehensive at first. But he came to see the exhibit as a way to break down post-September 11 stereotypes and bring people of different faiths together.

"Many times, unfortunately, faith has been used to divide us and create all kinds of misunderstandings," says Khan, whose extended family -- from his mother to his grandson -- is featured in the exhibit. "This project is doing the exact opposite."

David Van Glish, a Merrill Lynch financial adviser whose family belongs to Temple Israel, a Conservative Jewish congregation, says the experience -- including meeting the other 10 families at a potluck dinner in October -- was eye-opening.

"I found that we are more alike than I thought we were," he says. "And I hope people who come to the exhibit take away that message when they leave."

Want to Go?

"Families of Abraham" starts today and runs through May 6 at the Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St., Charlotte.

Cost: $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students. Sundays are free.

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