After breakfast, we had another meeting with the Mufti of Ajara in the mosque. The Mufti and I sat in the ‘mihrab’ and others sad on our right and left, making a rather blurred circle. The Mufti of Ajara is also a sheikh of the All Georgian Council of Muslims. His name is Jemal Paksadze, a relatively young and quietly-spoken cleric. He welcomed us warmly and sincerely thanked us for the visit. This was the first time they had hosted such a large Christian group in their premises.
“I need to take the advantage to thank the Georgian Baptists for their support,” said the Mufti calmly, and looked at the international guests in the circle. “Bishop Rusudan was the only Christian leader in this country who raised her voice against discrimination against Muslims in Georgia.” He paused, and then continued: “Bishop Rusudan was the only person in Georgia who has publicly maintained that it is insulting to erect crosses on the graves of the Muslim soldiers who fought for the independence of Georgia.”
To be perfectly honest I was very pleased to hear these words from the leader of the Muslim community in Georgia. Bishop Rusudan’s support made the Georgian Muslims think that coercion and religious intolerance is not acceptable to all Christians. Bishop Rusudan had spoken for the Christian gospel. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Sleepless in Georgia – 8 – Meeting at the mosque”