Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Print Only FAITH PERSPECTIVES 1/23

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Print Only FAITH PERSPECTIVES 1/23

Article excerpt

Over the last few months, rhetoric by a few politicians against minorities has sown and inflamed the seeds of intolerance and ignorance.

It also has shown a not very complimentary side of some of our citizens. Politicians are fueling the sentiments to gain votes, not realizing nor caring how it will change the fabric of our country. The country that is built on immigration and whose diversity is the envy of the world is being divided into "us" and "them."

Hateful remarks by Donald Trump and Ben Carson have caused much anguish for many minorities, especially American Muslims.

Islamophobia is on rise, and many incidents have been reported over the many parts of the country.

In St. Louis, usually we see less overt hostility against Muslims. I give credit to the strong interfaith relationships in greater St. Louis area to combat intolerance and foster respect for different faiths.

After the painful violence in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., faith leaders stood together against Islamophobia. They categorically rejected the notion that the actions of few fanatics who happen to be Muslims represent the faith of more than 1.5 billion Muslims.

The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis had an open house earlier this month for the community at large. More than 300 guests from different churches, synagogues and many other organizations came to know more about Islam. Some of the friends have been to the mosque before and brought their friends to interact and gain insight into the world's second largest faith.

Speakers from Jewish, Christian and the Bhai' faith addressed the crowd and stressed the need to know each other, respect everyone's faith, fight bigotry and stand together to serve the community.

David Oughton, from St. Louis University's department of theology, eloquently described the relationships among different faiths at five levels.

1. Tolerance * Reject the belief that only my religion is good and true and all others are bad and false. There are many examples of intolerance among different religions: the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Bosnian genocide.

2. Understanding similarities and differences among different faiths * Those include the Golden Rule, common commandments, teachings of virtue and compassion, and a striving for self- improvement, justice and self-defense. …

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