Detroit — Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s efforts toward understanding and cooperation between Christians and Muslims were recognized Sept. 18 by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.
He was presented with the council’s Interfaith Partner Award at its 25th anniversary banquet at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Imam Stephen Mustapha Elturk, in presenting the award, said Archbishop Vigneron had taken the initiative in reaching out to the Muslim community of metropolitan Detroit after taking the helm of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Elturk, who chairs the council’s Imams committee, said the archbishop asked to meet with the imams to encourage cooperation on issues the two faiths share in common, such as respect for life, defense of marriage and strengthening families, and freedom of conscience and religious freedom.
Elturk also hailed Archbishop Vigneron’s inter-faith leadership when a controversial Florida pastor brought an anti-Muslim campaign to Dearborn during Holy Week this year.
“The archbishop made it clear that we Muslims were dear friends of the Catholic community and members of one greater metropolitan Detroit community – neighbors all,” Elturk said.
In his acceptance remarks, Archbishop Vigneron expressed his gratitude to the council and addressed the banquet’s theme, “Nurturing Culture with Faith.” He also noted that the positive working relationship between local Catholics and Muslims began under the leadership of his predecessor, Cardinal Adam Maida.
The archbishop said he took particular joy in receiving the award “because it comes from my Muslim neighbors in Metro Detroit, a community that I admire for your integrity and virtue, particularly in regard to maintaining the inviolable dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage and family.”