March 29, 2016, 4:43 PM
From a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian and a Sikh
As we review events going back to September 11, 2001, and before, we observe with horror an increase in the incidence of terrorism on our planet. We observe much of that emanating from the Middle East, the home of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We observe a tradition from India, Sikhism, that has sought since its inception to wage peace, being targeted by violent ignorance in retribution for acts of terrorism not committed by Sikhs.
This editorial brings together a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian and a Sikh to provide some perspective. Dr. Aslam Abdullah, the leader of one of our local mosques, shares: “As a Muslim who believes in the absolute power and wisdom of the divine for giving His guidance to humanity, I am horrified when I read that people who confess to be Muslim by name are involved in terrorist attacks. Surely such people do not understand what it means to submit to God to attain peace… Speak, I will, write, I must, confront those who advocate violence, I shall and use every opportunity to challenge terrorists, I do. But in a world where leaders and parties often use their self-serving agenda to define terrorism and the nature of the fight against violence and injustice, I am left bewildered… Can we Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and everyone else come together to stand for each of us and to fight the menace with a quality of compassion, rather than using religious or nationalistic labels to vent our fear and our anger, serving only political agendas?”
As the representative of the Anti-Defamation League, Executive Director, Jolie Brislin shared the following statement: “The cruelty and brutality of terrorism is evident wherever it occurs. The horrific terrorist attack of Easter Sunday in Lahore targeting Christians and children deserves special condemnation in a seeming never ending stream of terrorist events. This one because of when it happened and whom it targeted leaves one nearly speechless. It targeted Christians on a holy day and seems to have deliberately targeted children, of whom there were many among the murdered.”
My brother, Teji Malik, a Sikh, recites from his holy scripture, the Guru Granth: “Allah created us all from one light. So whom shall we call good and whom shall we call bad?” He goes on to share: “It is rather strikingly clear that these terrorists, so-called God-lovers, have made their god into a piñata whom they hit when they engage in their terrorism… Little do they understand but they are also killing their own god through these horrific actions… we of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada are heartbroken with wet eyes which refuse to get dry.”
As a Christian, I stand with my fellow human beings in crying out, praying and redoubling my commitment to interfaith peacemaking. As Chair of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, I observe how good it is when people of faith come together for the purpose of waging peace, seeking in humility a culture of compassion and mercy. Every Fall and every Spring, we bring together youth from across the Valley at our Camp Anytown, to wage peace. Every one of our youth, early on, recognize their own pride and their own prejudice. Three days into Camp Anytown, everyone is singing the blessing of our common humanity.
Violence only leads to further violence; this is the teaching of all traditions of peace and the witness of history. May we have the courage to root out the causes of violence in our own hearts and thereby be the change that will one day transform the world.
We close with two quotes from the Buddha: “Overcome evil by good.” “All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.”
Aslam Abdullah, Muslim
Jolie Brislin, Jew
Teji Malik, Sikh
Gard Jameson, Christian
All Board Members of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada