Nov. 22, 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We begin in this Thanksgiving week with an expression of gratitude for your presence among us. The depth of your spiritual beliefs and practice and the wealth of cultures that you bring to our community have inspired and enriched us all.
We are writing today because we know in the days since the attacks in Paris and Beirut, the downing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt and the bloodshed in Mali, there has been increasing pressure on the vast Muslim community. The hateful rhetoric that has filled both the political landscape and personal conversations is totally against what we see as the highest ideals of our nation – and totally against our understanding of the message of Jesus. That message of Jesus, that message of love, is at the center of our lives, just as the words of Mohammed, peace be upon him, are at the center of yours.
Our understandings of the divine presence may differ, the ways in which we express our faith may differ, but as spiritual descendants of Abraham and as human beings sharing inherent dignity, we want you to know that we at Memorial United Church of Christ stand with you in these difficult times.
We hold you in our prayers and we ask that you hold us in your prayers as well.
Grace and peace be with you.
Signed by 110 members of the Memorial UCC community
From our Islamic friends after receiving our letter:
Ibrahim Saeed, president of the Islamic Center of Madison, writes, “Thank you very much for the letter. We really appreciate the support you and your congregation showed during this difficult time.”
And from Seema Tahir, assistant administrator of the Madinah Academy: This is to express our gratitude for your letter of support. We highly appreciate your gesture of goodwill towards us and thank you for your kindness. Gestures of kindness reflect the best in human nature and keep alive the light of humanity…You will always be in our prayers. Please continue to keep us in yours. May the peace and blessings of God be with you always.” The students and teachers all wrote messages to us on a giant thank-you card.