Leaders of various faiths held a prayer service at the mosque to show solidarity with the Muslim community during these times of unrest and increasingly Islamophobic and racist reactions to terrorist incidents, both domestic and foreign. I was there along with Imam Mohamed AbuTaleb, Rev. William Barber, Rabbi Eric Solomon and Rev. Marion Robinson, among others. My words to those gathered are below and a full video of the event is here on WRAL.com.
Today we gather with a two-fold purpose. We gather to stand in solidarity with one another as Muslims and non-Muslims to say that we will not let fear and hatred divide us. We are one human family and we stand side-by-side as brothers and sisters. Today, we also gather to pray—to Allah, to God, to the Holy One who created each of us—believing that the One to whom we pray, by whatever name, hears our prayers.
As people of faith—as moral, ethical human beings—we cannot remain silent or invisible at the rise of intolerance, prejudice and hostility toward our Muslim brothers and sisters here in America. There comes that moment when one must stand up to injustice and say “no more.” Donald Trump’s recent remarks on the banning of Muslims coming to the U.S. has brought us to that moment, and we are here to say “no more.” No more being silent when hateful voices spout fear. No more being invisible bystanders when politicians spew hateful and harmful rhetoric that places innocent people in harms way. No more —because as Americans, as moral individuals, as people of faith, we are not moved by fear and hate. We are called – commanded, even – to sow love. To love our neighbors as ourselves.
The enemy in this country and in our world is not Muslims. The enemy we face as a humanity is radicalization—and radicalization is not limited to one faith, one people, or one religion. On December 2nd, radicalization presented itself in San Bernardino, CA, as two individuals who claim Islam as their faith committed mass murder. Before December 2nd, radicalization came in the actions of a white man who claims Christianity as his faith, U.S. citizen Robert Dear, who walked into a clinic where abortions are preformed and killed three people. Before December 2nd, radicalization came in the horrific actions of a young white man who claimed Christianity as his faith, named Dylann Roof, who walked into a black church in Charleston, SC, sat in circle and engaged in bible study with 12 black people for an hour, before standing up and shooting nine people, one at a time, for no other reason than their skin was darker than his. Before that, radicalization came in the actions of Terry Jones, a Baptist preacher in Florida, who declared war on Muslims and burned the Koran outside his church because he said Jesus Christ would burn the Koran. Radicalization knows no cultural, ethnic or religious bounds.
And so today, we stand together—Muslims and non-Muslims—to condemn the killings in the name of any religion. Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is a religion of peace and non-violence. We must, as people of faith, stand in solidarity with one another and reject the propaganda seeking to separate us and breed distrust. We must recognize that radicalization and isolation are the real dangers we face, and that we must resist the urge to become radicalized and isolationist in our own responses to terrible acts. We must stand together and pray together and face together the people who believe that it is right to kill in the name of religion, racism or political ideology and say, “no more, no more!”