A call to multi-faith solidarity

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign calls on clergy and religious communities to remember the lives of the three American Muslims killed in Chapel Hill, N.C., Feb. 10 by incorporating scriptural calls to love into religious services this weekend.Shoulder to Shoulder

Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign is partnering with the Noor Islamic Cultural Center and the Safe Alliance for Interfaith Leadership (SAIL) to host a regional interfaith conference in Dublin, Ohio, Feb. 19-21: “Divinity & Diversity: Building Our Beloved Community Together.”

Nearly 30 national faith-based, interfaith and religious organizations formed the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign in 2010 to address anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. Through Shoulder-to-Shoulder, Jewish, Christian, and interfaith organizations stand in interfaith solidarity with American Muslims to uphold the freedoms on which Americans of all faiths depend.

The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society is a member of the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign.

Senseless violence

An act of senseless violence ended the lives Feb. 10 of three students in Chapel Hill, N.C.: Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Regardless of the motivation of this particular tragedy, it has clearly highlighted concern in the Muslim community about rising anti-Muslim sentiment. Now is the time, Shoulder to Shoulder emphasizes, “for those of us in the faith community who are not Muslim to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Shoulder to Shoulder suggests using and following #SpreadLove to amplify the impact of combined voices of solidarity, condolence and support. It also asks faith communities to do the following:

  • Use a text from your own tradition to highlight themes of love.
  • Offer a prayer.
    • Play this StoryCorps piece with shooting victim Yusor Abu-Salha that highlights themes of unity:Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture.And that’s the beautiful thing here, is that it doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions — but here we’re all one, one culture. And it’s beautiful to see people of different areas interacting, and being family. Being, you know, one community.
  • Write a letter or make a phone call to the closest mosque, Islamic Center or Muslim community group.
  • Participate in a vigil in your local community. Here’s a link to a google doc listing many around the country.
  • Tweet, Facebook post, etc messages of condolences and support, using the hashtag #SpreadLove.
  • Sign the Shoulder to Shoulder.

Anti-Muslim sentiment

While there are still many questions around the killer’s motivation, it is clear that this incident occurred in a context of high levels of anti-Muslim sentiment, and the American Muslim community is fearful as hate speech and hate crimes continue to target Muslims in this country, according to Shoulder to Shoulder. The Center for American Progress, in an accident of timing, released this past week a new report,Fear, Inc., 2, documenting the cash-flow behind anti-Muslim rhetoric and legislation.

Regardless of the decision regarding motivation, this tragedy has brought to national attention the hatred and fear that are very much a part of the current national and local rhetoric, Shoulder to Shoulder asserts.

“We as religious leaders need to take a stand and help lead our nation in a direction of constructive, loving, and justice-seeking national dialogue on religious freedom and inclusion,” Shoulder to Shoulder urges. “We hope you will join us, as we continue to stand Shoulder to Shoulder.”

Editor’s note: Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign is partnering with the Noor Islamic Cultural Center and the Safe Alliance for Interfaith Leadership (SAIL) to host a regional interfaith conference in Dublin, Ohio, Feb. 19-21. Theme of the conference is “Divinity & Diversity: Building Our Beloved Community Together.”Join national and local interfaith leaders to discuss what the U.S.’s increasing diversity means. Come share knowledge and experience of what skills will strengthen interreligious relationships and build resilient communities in America in the coming years. Workshops will provide opportunities to improve religious literacy, to learn about changing demographics, and to develop basic skills for responding to challenges presented by this increasing diversity, especially responding to religious discrimination. For more details and to register, go to Divinity & Diversity.
General Board of Church & Society

The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is that agency of the church charged with promoting the church’s social witness, and to help all United Methodists connect their faith with the broader society.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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CullyHayne HamiltonBruce DavisGeorge Nixon ShulerRichard Hicks Recent comment authors
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one believes with ones heart that “multi-faith solidarity” is a very troubling thing. one wonders how Father/Son/Holy Spirit’s Words–“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me……………………..” can be so discounted. you learned ones please explain.

Hayne Hamilton

There is not a shred of evidence yet that these tragic deaths were in any way related to the religion of the victims or the motivation of the deranged killer. This group is making a mockery of a great tragedy to advance a narrative of Islamophobia, because to date.there is no evidence that the number of crimes or amount of discrimination against American Muslims is disproportionately high to crimes and discrimination against Jews or Christians because of their religious beliefs. This crowd has been dead silent when Chritanity has been trashed or as blatant antisemitism explodes across the globe….hh

Bruce Davis
Bruce Davis

While we’re going shoulder-to-shoulder with American Muslims, which is okay, who is in solidarity with those Christians whose heads are being removed from their shoulders in the Muslim middle-east?

George Nixon Shuler

Does the year 1692 and the place of Salem, Massachusetts, mean anything to you?

Bruce Davis
Bruce Davis

I’m sure the equivalencies of 1692 are of great comfort to those being massacred by ISIS in 2015.

Richard Hicks

Either all means all or all means sewage! To be fully multi-faith, this group must include those of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the murderers of Rwanda, etc. All means all or all means sewage! Thank you, Richard Hicks, OKC

George Nixon Shuler

That’s an interesting quote. I agree with you. I don’t think however having a goal of increasing inclusion is unwarranted. If Boko Harun or Charisma News wanted to join such a group, membership requirements should be tweaked to keep them out.

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