Progressive Christian Channel
Interfaith Strides: Moving Forward Together Since 9/11
One of the ways that happened was in becoming more sensitive to the stresses and strains that the Muslim community was experiencing. When a turban-wearing Sikh man was murdered shortly after 9/11, the Interfaith Council issued a statement condemning religiously motivated violence. Later statements addressed anti-Muslim reaction after the shootings at Fort Hood and the congressional hearings called by Rep. Peter King.
As Ms. Semel observed, "There are all kinds of people in every group; we have to avoid stereotypes. We've all been stereotyped at one time or another."
The building on this foundation continues. In 2011, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) became the newest interfaith organization in the Bay Area. The Muslim community, a significant presence in Fremont and Newark, has been part of the organization of the council from its inception.
Today, plans are well underway for 9/11 commemorations. In San Francisco, Mozart's Requiem will be performed, interspersed with meditational texts read by representatives of various religious traditions that make up the San Francisco Interfaith Council. In addition, one of the main speakers will be a prominent Muslim community leader.
While the tone of the commemoration will be somber and reflective, the program will also be the witness to the solidarity of the religious community - as we move into the future together.
At the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, we keep a calendar of events happening around the entire Bay Area. The following are some of the activities scheduled in my part of the country. Perhaps something will spark an idea for you to do in your community:
- The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council will show the movie LOVEHATELOVE, a documentary that traces the difficult journeys of three families torn apart by terrorism, and the lasting legacies they created in an effort to ensure that love triumphs over hatred. A community conversation with faith and civic leaders will follow the film.
- Light the Night for Peace and Friendship, American Muslim Voice and the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council will offer a dinner, program and candlelight vigil.
- Grace Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek, CA, along with the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, will hold an interfaith concert on the afternoon of 9/11. All faith communities are invited to offer special music.
- A Contemplative Service for Peace, sponsored by the Marin Interfaith Council, will take place on 9/11. The service will include silence, music, and sacred texts from the world's religions.
- Golden Gate Park will featured "The 10th Anniversary of 9/11: Opera in the Park." The program will feature Mozart's Requiem, as well as works by Christopher Theofanidis, Harold Arlen, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and John Williams. This event is sponsored by the San Francisco Interfaith Council, Mayor Ed Lee's office, and the San Francisco Opera.
Another great resource is the Islamic Network Group (ING). They provide speakers on Islam, as well as interfaith panels. You can also contact the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). There may be an affiliate in your area.
The Pluralism Project website offers lots of resources and a nifty map for finding organizations state-by-state.
Finally, get to know your local interfaith council, if there is one. Find out what they're doing and how you can get involved. And if there isn't one in your area, start one. On this anniversary of 9/11, there is no better time.
Rev. Susan M. Strouse, D.Min., is the Interim Executive Director of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco.