Coalition urges Americans to embrace unity found in post-9/11 period

Coalition urges Americans to embrace unity found in post-9/11 period

September 07, 2011
Written by Gregg Brekke

The Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign — an interfaith coalition dedicated to ending religious prejudice, particularly anti-Muslim bigotry — has issued a statement at their press conference held prior to 9/11 commemoration ceremonies.

Calling on Americans “to recommit to the inspiring spirit of unity and cooperation that we…embraced in the weeks after the tragedy,” the statement took aim at fear-based policies that discriminate against Muslims.

The coalition expands its work internationally by making a clear statement to both the Muslim world and the international community as a whole that religious communities in the United States are committed to ending anti-Muslim bigotry; and broadens and deepens the work of religious communities to end anti-Muslim bigotry in congregations and in state and community organizations, placing particular emphasis on producing strategies and support for religious leaders in all 50 states. 

The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are members of the coalition.

Our coalition, Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims, UpholdingAmerican Values, is made up of 26 national faith groups, denominations, and interfaith organizations that have pledged to work together to end anti-Muslim discrimination in America and to promote mutual understanding and acceptance among Americans of all faith backgrounds.   Since first convening one year ago, we have articulated a faith-based voice of conscience against the shameful rise of Islamophobia in this country.

As our nation commemorates the tenth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, we stand together as religious leaders from diverse traditions to urge our fellow Americans to recommit to the inspiring spirit of unity and cooperation that we, as a people, embraced in the weeks after the tragedy.

A decade after our nation was attacked, we honor those who lost their lives on September 11th, not only with uplifting words and enduring memories, but with a renewed commitment to the common good and the bedrock values that have made America a land of opportunity for people of diverse ethnicities and faiths. In the days after September 11, Americans transcended barriers of race, religion and political ideology in a powerful display of national unity amidst shared grief. We mourned together, raised flags together, and pledged to build together a future in which justice and peace prevailed over hatred and revenge. Yet over time, we lost our way and strayed from that principled path.

The time has come to reclaim the sense of community and shared purpose that guided us through those trying days a decade ago. Fear-based politics and discrimination against Muslim Americans and those perceived to be Muslim disgrace the memories of those who perished on September 11, and desecrate the core values that make our nation great. The presence in America of people of all faiths and belief systems enriches our diverse country. The ideals that unite us are more powerful than the differences that divide us.

During our time together here today, we are honoring hundreds of local organizations and congregations across America that are working for unity and healing, and, especially, for an end to anti-Muslim bigotry. Today we recognize four inspiring local efforts that are representative of religious organizations across the country endeavoring to end the prejudice that threatens core American values.

As national leaders of faith groups, denominations, and interfaith organizations, we pledge to model this spirit of unity, as we remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001 and move forward as a nation.  We call on all houses of worship and individuals to join with us as we stand up for hope, unity, and healing.

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