Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren Addresses U.S. Muslims

Sarah Karush | 7/8/2009, 11:17 p.m.

Defying some of his fellow conservative Christian critics, Pastor Rick Warren told several thousand American Muslims on Sat., July 4 that €the two largest faiths on the planet'' must work together to combat stereotypes and solve global problems.

€Some problems are so big you have to team tackle them,'' Warren said at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America.

Warren said Muslims and Christians should be partners in working to end what he calls €the five global giants€ of war, poverty, corruption, disease and illiteracy.

Warren, founder of Saddleback Community Church in Orange County, Calif., is the author of €The Purpose Driven Life,'' which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. His willingness to show support for U.S. Muslims is a huge gain for the community, which has endured intense scrutiny since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Warren urged Muslims and Christians to speak out against stereotyping of any group and to respect each other even while disagreeing. Addressing Muslims who €have been in America for many generations now,'' he urged them to help €the newcomers learn what it means to be American.''

Based in Plainfield, Ind., ISNA is an umbrella organization for Muslim groups across the country. The annual convention, now in its 46th year, regularly draws more than 30,000 people for lectures, prayer and socializing.

Ann Zahra, 42, said she had never heard of Warren before Saturday but agreed with much of his speech.

€The basics are the same,'' said Zahra, of McLean, Va. €No religion teaches cruelty or disrespect or hatred.''