‘SPREAD HUMMUS, NOT HATE’ RALLYING CRY ECHOES AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
A rally of religious leaders, interfaith activists, academics and students at the American University pledged to work toward thwarting religious discrimination and bigotry in accordance with American ideals of pluralism and inclusiveness.
Assembling under the banner of ” Spread Hummus, Not Hate,”narrative, civil society voices represented diversity of population that included Budhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims.
Recitations of scriptures in diverse original languages, rap poetry, music and instrumental performances by Muslims and Jewish students also generated vibes of peace, equality, commonness and coexistence.
“Hatred, bigotry and prejudice is walking a very dangerous path, it is the slippery slope. Today, it is Muslims, tomorrow it is anti-Semitism, anti-African Americanism, anti-Mexican and anti-Catholicism, ” Prof. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun chair of the Islamic Studies, said.
“It is an unending consequence, therefore, we must say, enough,” added Ahmed, who hosted the rally in cooperation with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum,
The rally at the AU campus was a culmination of daylong odyssey that brought together Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations on a unity visit mosques, synagogues and express the message of tolerance publicly.
The demonstration of unity for tolerance and equal treatment of all citizens came as Americans prepare to vote for November 8 election in the wake of a highly unusual campaign that saw unprecedented rhetoric against immigrant communities including Mexicans and American Muslims.
Activists at the rally said they joined hands for peace in the face of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish Program Director at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said irrespective of the November 8 election result, Jewish and Muslims leaders would continue to emphasize the message of mutual support against any demonization and discrimination.
He said there may be differences on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute but Jewish and Muslim leaders are vowing oneness in the United States to ensure equal protection of rights for followers of all faiths.
Andra Baylus of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum stressed that the message of Spread Hummus Not Hate movement is to build friendship and trust.
Catherine Orsborn, of Shoulder to Shoulder spoke about how the organization is fighting anti-Muslim bigotry and said it will take the message to elected leaders to secure their commitment to respect the will of plurality of voices that demand there absolutely be no discrimination against anyone on the basis of their faiths.
Known Muslim leader Imam Ali Siddiqui stressed the message and spirit of togetherness, saying “we are a family.”
Manjula Kumar, former director of the Smithsonian Institution, represented the Hindu community, and particularly appealed to the students to spread the message of the movement that people need harmony, not hate.
A distinctive feature of the event was recitation of the Azan with translation and prayers by followers of faiths for collective well being of all.
American university students at the rally represented the multicultural ambiance of the campus.
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