‘Why the U.S. Needs Interfaith Groups’ – the Opinion of a Youth Interfaith Leader
Within hours of hearing about the killing of three Muslim students, I had been invited to three different prayer vigils for the deceased. All of my invitations came from college interfaith groups.
Via Adam Gerstenfeld, Parliament Ambassador, IFYC Advisory Board Member for USA TODAY: And then my Twitter blew up — #MuslimLivesMatter was suddenly a trending topic worldwide, prompting an international conversation on media double standards, hate-crime prosecution and Islamophobia in the U.S.
Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha, three Muslim Americans who died in a shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina sparking an outcry of interfaith love in the United States, and giving new attention to hate in the United States. The families of the victims have asked that the crime be investigated as a hate crime.
While the positive response for the prayer vigils and social media wave is heartening, I want to know that these conversations are going somewhere. America today is the most religiously diverse it has ever been in its entire history, while religious tensions around the world are steadily rising.
But the cries for more interfaith cooperation are few and far between, and when they are addressed — such as when President Obama spoke during the National Prayer Breakfast — thespeakers are excoriated for addressing some of the more uncomfortable topics.
Currently I serve on the National Advisory Board for the Interfaith Youth Core, the largest college interfaith organization in the United States. I was a panelist at the 2014 North American Interfaith Network national conference, and founder of University of Florida’s Interfaith Ambassadors.