Blessing the Bread – Remarks at PACT Solidarity Network Press Conference

By Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director.

This speech was delivered at the PACT Solidarity Network Press Conference on April 7th, 2017.

Like the Torah, the Quran teaches that when the children of Israel were suffering from hunger and thirst, Moses prayed to God and God answered his prayers with food from heaven. The Qur’an says: “And We caused the clouds to comfort you with their shade, and sent down unto you manna and quails. [saying,]’Partake of the good things which We have provided for you as sustenance’” (2:57).

This story that we share with our Jewish and Christian brethren not only assures us of God’s continuing sustenance, spiritually and physically, as we journey through our lives; it also calls us to provide sustenance to our fellow human beings who are negotiating lives far more fierce and fearsome than any of us who live in the wealthiest country of the world are likely to know. When the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), escaping severe persecution and near death, established the first Muslim community in Medina, he required every household in Medina that could afford to do so to take in a refugee family that fled with him, asking that family to feed and protect the refugees until they could get back on their feet. That example must guide us today.

What if every household of faith that can do so declared its readiness to take in a refugee? Would that not be the most effective and faith-filled response to our government’s moving to stop refugee resettlement, and build a wall, literally and figuratively, around our country?

As we bless this bread, let us pray for the strength and determination to provide bread, physical and spiritual, for those who are wandering through the wilderness of war and poverty. Our nation has been blessed with sustenance beyond that of any other nation on earth; now we need to turn and be a blessing to others, especially to those most in need in our time.