(April 15, 2013) On Saturday, April 13, Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, ISNA National Director for Interfaith and Community Alliances, participated in the 4th Annual Vaishnava/Hindu-Muslim Dialogue in Washington, DC. The topic was Sacred Aesthetics, with presentations on the concept of God, and an introduction to the concepts of art, music, and poetry etc., from both Islamic and Vaishnava traditions.
Dr. Syeed shared how the American religious experience is such that people of every religion are literally neighbors with one another. “This closeness enables us to build trust and confidence in one another,” he said, “something that is not only good for our communities for generations to come but can also have a positive global impact.” He shared that fasting has become a critical component to interfaith interaction because it is common to every faith and valued in its promotion of self-growth and spirituality. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time when government officials at every level and people of other faiths are especially attuned to the Muslim communities in their midst.
While both communities attend many events about religious freedom, it is only on rare occasion that the two gather to develop mutual understanding, exploring faith and spiritual cultures in depth and in an environment of friendship and trust.