National Cathedral hosts Muslim Friday prayers for the first time

Omar Abdul-Malik prays alone as the Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups hold the first celebration of Muslim Friday prayers, Jumaa, in the cathedral's north transept in Washington, November 14, 2014.(Reuters)

The Washington National Cathedral is no stranger to prayers but on Friday, it hosted a different kind of prayer in a bid to boost Christian-Muslim relations.

It opened its doors to hold its first ever Friday Muslim prayers and five local Muslim groups took part.  

The cathedral's normally bare stone floor was covered with rugs in the north transept and the Muslim guests quickly acclimatised to their new surroundings, kneeling in rows to say their prayers, called Jumu'ah.

The cathedral website explained the motive behind the prayer gathering: "Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality.

"It demonstrates an appreciation of one another's prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions." 

The gathering was momentarily disturbed by a female protester who told the Muslims: "Jesus Christ died on that cross over there."

According to NBC, she continued: "He is the reason why we are to worship only him.  Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour.  

"We have built, and allowed you here in mosques across the country.  Why can't you worship in your mosque, and leave our churches alone." 

She was reportedly escorted from the cathedral.