SAN JOSE (KGO) --A new initiative to form stronger ties between Muslims and Catholics was launched in the South Bay on Monday.
Faith leaders hope it will lead to an on-going dialogue to address issues they have in common.
A contingent of Catholics marched together to form new friendships at the Saba Islamic Center in San Jose. The spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as a key motivation at a time of uncertainty over anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment.
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"We see this as very much rooted in Dr. King, and it's not rooted in politics, it's rooted in our mutual belief of both our religions in speaking about a unity of human kind, friendship, understanding and dialogue," said Fr. Jon Pedigo, from the Lady of Guadalupe Church.
An overflow crowd of more than 400 sat together to hear from spiritual leaders, including the bishop of the Diocese of San Jose and imams from several mosques.
"If they want to tap the phones of the Muslims, well they can't simply say they're just tapping Muslims' phones, they will be tapping a lot of different peoples' phones and we're in this challenge together," imam Tahir Anwar said.
Afterwards, the dialogue began as Muslims and Catholics became friends.
"A mosque is a place of peace and prayer and bringing a community together, and to be able to share in that today is a real privilege," Catholic Parishioner Helen Bunje said.
The next step will be quarterly council meetings, peer to peer, among religious leaders, educators and congregations.
"I'm hoping that we will be able to work together and support each other in the days, the months an indeed the years ahead," said Bishop Patrick McGrath from the Diocese of San Jose.
Click here to see how Dr. King is being honored in the Bay Area and across the country.