A gesture of respect from different faiths | Guest View
For minority religious communities living in America, these are troubling times.
For Muslims living in America during this political season in particular, they live in an environment of coarse, barbaric rhetoric that practically claims being Muslim should be considered a criminal act.
The Republican nominee for president of the United States claims it is necessary to “monitor” all mosques within the nation, to create a database that would track all Muslims within the nation, and to halt the entry of Muslims into the nation.
Hate crimes against Muslims increased by 1,600 percent in the year after the September 11 attacks, and hate crimes against the Muslim community continue unabated since that day.
In a gesture of interfaith respect and cooperation, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Monroe invited the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation to conduct our Sunday morning service within their sacred space on Sept.11.
They offered to open the doors of the Abode of Kindness Mosque to us, and with much joy we said, “Yes!”
Our Edmonds congregation has long had a relationship with the Ahmadiyya Community, and we host joint blood drives with them each fall and spring at our facility.
So, on Sunday, Sept. 11, more than 120 members of our congregation assembled at the mosque for services.
In the service, we learned from our ministers that we have a 500-year shared commitment to freedom of religious thought with the larger Muslim community: We learned about Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, who offered protection to the first Unitarians in Eastern Europe, and we learned that it is a part of Islamic law that Muslims protect religious minorities within their lands.
America hosts a rich tapestry of religious and cultural communities. Our cultures and ethnicities of origin are many. Our theologies vary, but in this republic of laws, we share a common humanity that undergirds diversity.
Our Unitarian Universalist faith is covenantal, not creedal. We honor the diversity within in our communities as one of our primary strengths.
We celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and we work toward a goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
In these troubling times, we are heartened that the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community join together to honor our values as Americans and as human beings seeking peace in the world.
These are among the common values by which we live. It is a good and worthy practice to get to know our neighbors. To honor and respect them. To trust that their simple aspirations of living in peace are as real and loving as our own.
Cooperation and loving kindness help to quiet the bombastic, dishonest voices of hate that would have us turn against one another for their political gain. It is never too late to choose to live in love.
Craig Cyr is president of the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation.