in News February 6, 2017

Stronger, Together: How Christians and Jews Came Together to Help Texan Muslims in Crisis

A wonderful real life tale of interfaith solidarity emerged from Texas in the United States last week, as Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities came together in the face of tragedy.

A mosque in the town of Victoria burned to the ground, shocking local residents. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

Jewish members of the B’Nai Israel temple nearby handed Muslims left without their mosque the keys to their synagogue so that they would have a place to worship. Four local churches were offered as space for the mosque’s Muslim congregation to hold services.

In a further symbolic gesture, children from the local Catholic school visited the site of the mosque a few days later, forming what the Islamic Center called a “human chain of love and peace”. The students presented Muslims with a tree, which will be planted in the grounds of the new mosque, once reconstructed. A Facebook post by the mosque thanked the children, saying, “the tree will be … prominently displayed to remind us of this beautiful moment. This is the spirit of love where the cross hugs the crescent.”

It’s an incredibly heartwarming story of solidarity between different faiths and a welcome tale during these difficult times. The story was widely covered in US national press and internationally, sending a powerful message to the world at a time when many are feeling disheartened at developments which appear to discriminate on the grounds of religion and faith.

The story caught the imagination of so many people that Americans of all faiths and none rallied together to help raise money to rebuild the mosque. An online donations drive via GoFundMe has raised more than $1million so far.

Following the recent attack on a mosque in Quebec, in which six people were murdered, it’s more important than ever that we stand together to combat hate and discrimination.

Many parts of the world have experienced spikes in anti-Semitic incidents recently, including the UK.  There was widespread criticism of a White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jews.

The Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in Victoria, Texas have touched the hearts of people all around America and the world with their incredible display of solidarity and humanness.

Similarly, on Friday 3rd February 2017, a human chain was formed around Wightman Road Mosque in North London.

Strengthening Faith Institutions took part in the event as it included faith leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities. As well, Londoners from the local community and people of no faith as a mark of solidarity against hate and prejudice.

It is these tales that cut through dark times with a beautifully bright light, reminding us all of the power of interfaith relations and communication. Faith communities are always stronger, together.

in News February 6, 2017