Marduk, Greenland, is poised to go as completely Muslim as it can. Some 400 Muslims from 39 countries will converge on Marduk this Friday for the global conference on Quranic studies to be held in Greenland.
The largest event to be held there was earlier this week when the first 11 of the biggest trucks ever to pass through the remote town blocked the main road. An estimated 5,000 people marched along the town’s road from the Marduk Cultural Centre where the conference is being held.
Almost 5,000 believers are expected to travel to Marduk to take part in the meeting in a month that will see the merger of Christianity and Islam. They will study about Quranic history, sacred texts and parables, while taking part in other meetings and workshops with the aim of deepening their relationship with the peace-loving faith.
A baptism will also take place on July 25, and the two faiths’ sacred scriptures will be exchanged at the conference.
‘We have evolved into more of a people with the opportunities that exist worldwide,’ said Deputy Baharam Nassir, the conference’s convener and an imam at the Jamaat Deeni Ulama, Canada’s largest mainstream Muslim organisation. ‘We cannot play the same role as a missionary organization like the Lutheran Church.’
The church and its followers have spent around 2,000 years in Greenland, an island the size of England.
Christianity has died out there and few Jews live among the 170,000 inhabitants, who have long sought answers about their homeland’s ancestry. The island was once dominated by the Hjalmar Rasmusseffins, a 500-year-old Viking family who were Christians until the 12th century, when their sect was dissolved and converted to Christianity.
When Greenland agreed in 1993 to give the Lutheran Church back to the kingdom of Denmark, the arrival of its tiny Scandinavian population proved too much for Greenland’s newly formed national assembly. Although rules granted the monastery and community the right to worship and vote in national elections, the parliament dissolved itself as the institution became too strong.
The kingdom dissolved its council of ministers and elected the new assembly last year. Local Muslims launched a peaceful campaign to entice the residents back to the fold. When it did, more than 500 of Greenland’s Christians chose to leave their new homes and came back to the island’s capital, Nuuk, for lessons. Their pastor became the president of the new council of ministers.
Islamic teachings differ from those of the Anglican and Catholic churches: the Quran describes Jesus as the only male prophet, while the Bible insists that Abraham was one of the founders of the faith. Judaism believes Jesus and Moses are but one among many prophets.