September 11, 2011 will mark ten years since the tragedy of 9/11. The event took the lives of many and shook the consciousness of our nation and world.[i] The world will never forget the loss of life, nor the images of unity and heroic selflessness that became a sign of peace, and hope for a better world that day.
Unfortunately over the past ten years, the memory of 9/11 has been used by some not to bolster hope and unity, but rather to foster disunity and even violence, particularly directed toward Islam and the Muslim community. Just in the past year there have been unconscionable actions directed toward this community including threats of Qur’an burnings and Congressional hearings on the “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.”[ii] Many people are concerned that this tenth anniversary of 9/11 could bring with it further examples of hostility directed toward Muslims in our community.
In response to these events, and in keeping with the UCC’s stance against religious-based hostility, the UCC’s 28th General Synod passed a resolution in July calling on the United Church of Christ “To Counter Actions of Hostility Against Islam and the Muslim Community.” The resolution calls all settings of the church to express support for Muslim neighbors, learn more about Islam, and publicly denounce any violence against this community and deplore other forms of racially or religiously-based violence, hatred, or actions.
Rev. Geoffrey Black and members of the
Collegium have written reflections on 9/11 which are posted on a UCC website titled
Plus 10: Beyond Memory and Hope.” This
site includes links to worship materials, ecumenical and interfaith initiatives,
and events to be held in communities across the country. The page was compiled for use by individuals
and churches seeking to mark the tenth anniversary. As members of the UCC and as people of faith,
we are called on this anniversary of 9/11 to reflect and act in ways that move us
“beyond memory and hope.” One way to do
this is to respond to the call of our General Synod resolution and take an
active step in speaking out against religiously and racially motivated hatred
and violence in your community.
Reflect: Visit the UCC website “Beyond Memory and Hope: 9/11 Plus 10” and read messages by Rev. Geoffrey Black, members of the Collegium, and other resources.
1) If you are a Facebook or Twitter user, post Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets on 9/11 that reflect hospitality, not hostility, toward the Muslim community in keeping with the General Synod Resolution “To Counter Actions of Hostility Against Islam and the Muslim Community.” Example:
“On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, I commit to working and praying for a world in which all are welcomed, valued, mourned, and celebrated. I rejoice in the diversity of our nation and affirm my Muslim neighbors.”
2) Want to do more? Consider writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. We have talking points and tools to make it easy to connect with your local press outlets. Send one now, it only takes a few minutes!
3) Attend local 9/11 commemoration and interfaith events in your local community and encourage family and friends to attend. Several large events are planned for New York and Washington DC. The Rev. Geoffrey Black will speak at an interfaith memorial in Washington sponsored by the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign. Additionally, President Obama has issued a call to community service under the banner of the “United We Serve” campaign.
4) SPREAD THE WORD…share this alert!
Links/For More Information
- Beyond Memory and Hope: 9/11 Plus 10
- General Syond 28 resolution “To Counter Actions of Hostility Against Islam and the Muslim Community”
- Global Ministries’ pages on Countering Islamophobia and Interfaith Relations.
Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign (A UCC
[i] The tremendous loss of life includes not only the over 2,500 who lost their lives directly related to the attack on the World Trade Center, but also the thousands of soldiers (6,500 US) and civilians who have lost their lives in the course of the ongoing war on terror and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.