Remarks at 2015 Multifaith Peace Picnic and 9/11 Commemoration

By Development Associate Kate Bridges-Lyman.

This speech was delivered at the Multifaith Peace Picnic and 9/11 Commemoration on Friday, September 11, 2015

I greet you all with the universal Muslim greeting of peace, Assalamu alaykum, may peace be upon you all. On this commemoration of the September 11th attacks in 2001, we hope and pray that all Americans can grow together in peace and create meaningful relationships to move us from fear to friendship. The memories of those that we lost that day and since are an indelible part of our American identity.

In the days and weeks after the attacks, dozens of Muslims, and indeed anyone who appeared to be Muslim, were assaulted verbally and physically; some of these confrontations resulted in death. On this day, we also recognize the shared struggle of the Americans who are the target of hate crimes based on their faith or a false assumption as to their faith.

Just this week, a Sikh man in the Chicago suburbs was run off the road and viciously beaten by a man yelling epithets like “Terrorist! Bin Laden! Go back to your country!”

There can be no excuse for this sort of hatred and stereotyping in a country like ours, where the freedom of religion is one of the founding principles of our country and one of highest values that we hold to till today.

It is a shared sense of hope that drives the work of ING, our partners, and the many other attendees here. This is why we will continue to have gatherings like this multifaith peace picnic, to bring people together to show that we can not only live next to each other, but we will work together to build a better future, God willing.