To our Muslim brothers and sisters and to all who are committed to building a healthy community in the great Metro East:
We, as members of the Metro-East Interfaith Partnership, are appalled at the hateful words and rhetoric in recent weeks leveled at our Muslim community friends and neighbors! As a people of many faith traditions (including Muslims) who gather regularly to share different hopes, dreams, beliefs, and values, we bear witness to the vital nature and importance of mutual care and friendship with the Muslim community. Their commitment to a bond of common actions for the community good is evidence, in fact, of citizens who seek peace and have great compassion toward their neighbors.
We reject any attempts by those who seek to generalize terror or falsely characterize the Muslim community by stirring up people’s fears and playing on their insecurities. We believe that our faith can be a catalyst for good and that indeed “love does overcome hate!” We believe that we must stand up to “injustice anywhere and everywhere it rears its evil head.” We implore the greater Metro east community and the nation to resist any bigotry and oppression that destroys our democracy and our diversity. It is at the very heart and soul of our existence as a nation and our understanding of peace and unity as persons of faith.
Our hearts and prayers go out to those who suffer from hate filled religious violence especially in California but also throughout the United States and the world. The mosques in the United States and abroad have spoken out strongly against terrorism, but their voices were not often heard or carried by the media.
Join us in speaking up and not allowing them and others to be spiritually bullied and closed off from our borders and our hearts. Join us in speaking up and out against immoral and unconstitutional treatment of strangers, refugees, immigrants who seek safety and a new future in our country and our communities.
In the words of the Christian Saint Francis:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love;
“Where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
“Where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light;
“And there is sadness, joy.
“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
“To be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love;
“For it is in giving that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
We invite you to please reach out to our local mosques and Muslim neighbors. Tell them you are a friend. Ask them what you can do to support their citizens’ rights. You can take the first step by joining the community on February 28, 2016 from 3- 5pm at the Belleville Mosque and Islamic Center in Swansea for conversation and an opportunity to “Meet Our Muslim Neighbors”! For more information, please call Lana Gilbert (President) at 618-660-7937.
As-salaam alaikum. The Peace of God be upon you.
The Metro-East Interfaith Partnership members include: Rev. Lana Gilbert, Cindy Forbes, Jim Forbes, Judy Williamson, Mohammed Kibria, Rev. Tim Harrison, Father Carrol Mizicko, Father Bob Flannery, Betsy Slosar, Rev. Annie Clark, Gabi Maul