On Wednesday February 1, 2017, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) along with several leading Jewish and Muslim organizations and prominent community leaders met with congressional leaders to urge them to uphold the constitutional rights on religious freedom.
Leaders who joined the meeting include Imam Magid, Dean Obeidullah, Talat Othman, Farhan Latif, Shakila Ahmad, Imam Talib Shareef, Imam Shamsi Ali, Keenan Basha, Raheema Abdulaleem, Majid AlSayegh, Daisy Khan, Suhail Khan, S.A. Ibrahim, Arsalan Suleman, and Farooq Kathwari.
During the day, the group discussed the newly established council with Congressional and Senate leaders and their staff. Later in the day, ISNA President Azhar Azeez and Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director of ISNA’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, participated in the council’s closed door meeting in which they decided to focus on working together to address hate crimes, workers’ rights and immigration issues.
ISNA is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with its inter-religious partners of the Abrahamic faith to uphold the US Constitution and to combat bigotry in all its forms.
The Council Declaration:
America promises all its citizens equal rights and equal protection under the laws. We have come together to help deliver on that promise for our communities and all Americans, and to participate in building our country pursuant to its laws and ethical traditions.
Our country is unique in being a democracy based not on religious or ethnic homogeneity but on equality of all citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion. We affirm our sacred commitment to that principle.
This commitment to a pluralistic democracy goes back to the founders of our country. As George Washington wrote to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island: “For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography that he raised money to build a hall “expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people of Philadelphia.”
We embrace this commitment as part of the common heritage of our Abrahamic faiths expressed in different religious teachings. As it is written in the Book of Leviticus: “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.…You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” so is it written in the Quran: “O mankind! We have created you male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.” We believe America is the country where our religious and secular aspirations together can be realized.
Therefore, in light of a recent rise of political polarization in our country, we have come together in public to reaffirm our commitment to religious freedom and pluralism, to demonstrate solidarity with each other, and to rebind the bonds of affection with our countrymen, as Abraham Lincoln once asked us to do, invoking the better angels of our nature.