“Muslims can convert to Christianity here!” read the sign Monday in front of the Congregational Church on Laurel Road. It was an invitation that the church’s pastor, K.C. McCay, admitted he didn’t expect anyone to accept. But coming on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it was bound to stir a response. And it did.
“If church leaders are really interested in saving people, they would find much less offensive ways to do it,” said Ahmed Bedier, director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Religious leaders are adding fuel to the fire. It’s a shame.”
The church, which was founded by McCay’s father in 1977, has between 50 and 100 members, depending on the time of year. It is a conservative church that views Christianity as the only path to God. “We will not vary from that,” McCay said. “If Muslims want us to water it down, that might be all right for you, but we’re not biting.”