Recommitting Ourselves to Building Intercultural, Interreligious, and Interracial Understanding and Friendship

By Ishaq Pathan, ING Deputy Director.

This speech was delivered at the at the San Francisco Community Vigil for the Victims of New Zealand on March 20th, 2019. 

Salaam alaikum and greetings of peace,

In the face of the atrocity we just witnessed in New Zealand, we all need to say “Never again” and recommit ourselves to the work of countering hate and building intercultural, interreligious, and interracial understanding and friendship. As Deputy Director of ING, I’m committing myself to redouble our efforts with our Muslim and interfaith allies to expand our programs of education and engagement that bring Americans of diverse backgrounds together to get to know one another to dispel prejudice and build relationships. I recognize too that the task of eradicating hate and violence is not just an organizational task; it has to start from within all of us. We need to look at ourselves and see how we contribute to the hatreds that are afoot in our world, whether by our inaction and indifference or by the unconscious racism that taints all of us in this society. The battle against hate is a battle for our souls. Whatever our faith or world view, we need to go within and align ourselves with the best of the values that our traditions teach. As a Muslim, I’m committing myself to be diligent in the prayers that are our way of aligning ourselves with the divine and with our fellow human beings, and I invite all of us to do the same.

Thank you and salaam alaikum.