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The 2016 presidential election is finally behind us. Despite the sharp divisions that have emerged during the campaign, Islamic Networks Group (ING) and its Affiliates respect the democratic process and its results and believe that we can all unite around the shared values that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe in: pluralism, inclusiveness, mutual respect, and the liberties guaranteed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
It is time to renew our commitment to those shared values and ideals. They are what America is all about; they define us as a nation and make us a community in which our political, religious, racial, and ethnic diversity is a gift, not a liability. Our differences lie not in these values but in the different ways we think they can best be realized and protected.
ING’s work is founded on these common values. All our programs aim to create and reinforce the interreligious and intercultural understanding and harmony that are bedrocks of our democracy. We educate about the common ground among people of diverse faiths and of no faith. Whether presenting about Islam in schools, colleges, community organizations, and other venues; training professionals in law enforcement, healthcare, education, and corporations how to deal sensitively with Muslims; delivering interfaith panels that highlight commonalities between religions; or training American Muslim youth to be effective spokespeople for their faith among their peers—in all these efforts, we foster the unity and understanding that comes from engagement and dialogue.
And that is why, in the aftermath of perhaps the most divisive election that our country has experienced, we are issuing this call to unity. Let us come together around the principles enshrined in our country’s founding documents. Let us remember that even those whom we most fiercely oppose politically most likely share our allegiance to those principles. Let us refrain from demonizing our political opponents as we debate in the months and years ahead. Let us, instead, keep our conversation focused on a reasoned discussion of issues rather than personal attacks or challenges to one another’s moral standing. There is plenty of common ground for us to move forward on as Americans. As we discuss our differences, let us always begin by acknowledging the values, principles, and ideals that we all share.
We at ING, for our part, will diligently defend those values and redouble our efforts to work with even greater dedication for the America we believe in, an America where all religions, races, and ethnicities are welcomed, nurtured, and valued and their rights and liberties respected. Here are a few ways that you can join with us to help promote unity and understanding in your community:
- Join our Know Your Neighbor – Multifaith Encounters coalition
- Request interfaith panels or presentations about Islam and Muslims
- Request a cultural diversity seminar
- Become a volunteer speaker for our interfaith panels or presentations
- Explore our online curriculum for educators
- Explore answers to frequently asked questions about Islam
- Explore INGYouth workshops to prevent bullying in schools
- Know your rights as a student
- Know your rights as a parent