CHARLOTTE, N.C. A mass gathering for a traditional Muslim prayer Friday kicks off a week of religious events in Charlotte tied to the Democratic National Convention.
The so-called “Jumah” prayer in Marshall Park is expected to draw thousands of Muslims to Charlotte for the start of a three-day cultural event.
Christians also are expected to gather in big numbers throughout the city, including “Charlotte714,” a Sunday afternoon program of music and prayer that’s expected to attract thousands to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.
Catholics also are planning group events, including a Friday night rosary and prayer at Time Warner Cable Arena and a pro-life march and rally next Wednesday at The Square in the center of the city.
Churches throughout the city are opening their doors to special convention-related speakers and programs, highlighting everything from the plight of children and the poor to immigration reform.
During this week of words and speeches, Myers Park Methodist will open mornings as a spiritual hideaway for residents and visitors.
The Muslim gathering has set off an online debate, with some conservative pundits and bloggers questioning the appropriateness of the Islamic events in the days before the convention.
Jibril Hough, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, says organizers will beef up security and have asked for a visible police presence during the public prayer.
Hough says the response has been encouraging.
“This says a lot about our city, our police department and the DNC,” he said.
“I feel Marshall Park should be the safest place to be Friday afternoon.”
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