ADAMS & AIA Deepest Sympathy for Coptic Christians in Egypt

Somayyah Ghariani

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) & AIA extend our most profound sympathy for the victims and the families of the victims of the April 9 attacks on a Coptic Christian Church in Tanta and another in Alexandria, Egypt

We join all people of conscience in denouncing these terrorist attacks in Egypt. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of these vicious attacks.  As we repeatedly note and teach, Islam holds that the taking of even a single innocent life is equivalent to killing all of humanity. Churches are explicitly named in the Qur’an (22:40) as places where the name of God is extolled and are deserving of protection.

It is especially disappointing that these false adherents of Islam have not only ignored these critical teachings, but did so in direct contravention of the instructions laid down personally by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in his letter to the Monastery of St Catherine in Egypt, in which he noted that anyone who attacked a Christian Church would be Violating Islamic Principles, and would pay a severe penalty on Judgment Day.

With Passover, Easter and Ramadan coming in the next weeks, many billions of people worldwide are preparing for their Religious holiday observances, such wanton acts are a disgrace to all those who perpetrate them, especially when done so falsely in the name of God and religion.

May our commitment and compassion hasten the day when all peoples can live together in understanding, harmony, and peace.  All those who oppose such peace and harmony should know that we will never hesitate to oppose such horrific violence, and will always categorically condemn any who feel that violence could in any way solve the problems of today’s world.

References: 

Fatwa(Religious Ruling) Against Terrorism 

Marrakesh Declaration supporting religious minorities in Muslim majority countries.

Christian & Muslim Interfaith Event for Pakistani Christians – Better Relations between Christians & Muslims
All Dulles Area Muslim Society focus on Religious Freedom Around The World

ADAMS hosted US Muslim & Christian Coalition (MCC) Inaugural Dinner and Fundraiser for Iraqi Christian Refugees.

Muslims are the largest victims of worldwide terrorism and suffer between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities.

Sep 10/11, 2014 – Voice of America – US Muslim Leaders Condemn ISIS

http://www.voanews.com/content/us-muslim-leaders-condemn-islamic-state/2447167.html

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2014/09/11/us-muslim-leaders-united-isis/24103/

“Prayer vigil held following hate-based graffiti at JCC and church”

Somayyah Ghariani

ANNANDALE, Va. (ABC7) — by Jay Korff/ABC7

It’s Holy Week for those at Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale. But those who came to this special service were not here to celebrate Easter per se. They came as a unity show of force in the face of darkness.

“Tonight we are here to being healing as a people and as a community,” says Little River United Church of Christ Senior Pastor David Lindsey.

A myriad of faith communities filled the sanctuary for a vigil of healing and reconciliation after this church and the nearby Jewish Community Center were recently spray painted with hurtful messages of hate.

Only days after this incident rocked this normally quiet section of Fairfax County, authorities arrested 20 year old Dylan M. Mahone at his nearby home. Investigators also allege Mahone posted anti-Semitic flyers at an area college campus.

This is also Passover: a time when those of Jewish faith celebrate freedom from oppression.

“We think that we are living in a time where we can look behind us and say that that was history. But we will always be in difficult times and we need to be resilient. But it was sort of a wake-up call that the fight has to keep on,” says JCC Executive Director Jeff Dannick.

Pastor Lindsey adds, “When you go through something traumatic like this it’s important that we remain witnesses to it, that we see it, that we understand what happened and that in doing so we recognize the hatred that was here but also moving through that and through these wounds we can move toward love.”

That love was felt when all of those in attendance ended the service by encircling the church with candles held high.

Interfaith Roundtable at NoVA Community College

Somayyah Ghariani

On April 12, 2017 AIA Executive Director Marro participated in an interfaith Roundtable at Northern VA Community College in Loudoun to discuss the impact of faith upon our collective cultures and perhaps how we can all reflect on a more tolerant society.

The panel discussion was led by NVCC Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of  BUS/FIN/MKT, NVCC-Loudoun Miguel Corrigan who introduced each member of the Interfaith Panel (including a Humanist representing atheism in America) by giving a brief biography of each, and asking question from his own experiences as well as from the audience of 200+ students and other interfaith guests.

The initial questions were followed by a direct Q&A session with the audience, moderated by Professor Corrigan. The questions largely focused on learning more about the different faiths represented, which included almost 20 representatives from Mormon, Evangelical Christian,Catholic, Sikh, Hindu, Coptic, Baha’i, and the Secular Humanists.

This project is part of a Fulbright proposal during which Professor Corrigan studied the unique forms of Islam in Senegal, Africa in July last year. Part of his grant involved producing an interfaith round table on culture and tolerance.

The discussion was very wide ranging, and covered topics about each participant’s experience and views concerning his or her respective faith. The audience remained extremely engaged and with superb questions for the entire 3+ hour session.

AIA 2020 and ADAMS Deplore the terrorist attack at Westminster in London

Somayyah Ghariani

 

The Alliance for an Indivisible America 2020 (AIA 2020) and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) join in deploring the terrorist attack at Westminster in London and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. We pray for the speedy recovery of all, including Melissa Cochran from Utah, who was injured and lost her husband Keith in the attack.

We commend British law enforcement for its swift action and hope those responsible are fully prosecuted under British law.

AIA joins ADAMS in reiterating our condemnation of any and all acts of terrorism and extremist violence. We ask all people of faith and conscience to tirelessly stand up against terrorism, extremism, bigotry, racism and hate.  Sadly, Muslims are the vast majority (82% to 97%) of victims of terrorist attacks worldwide and we re-affirm our denunciation of attacks against any community, anywhere. These horrific acts however should NOT be permitted to vilify or stereotype peaceful and law abiding Muslims in Britain, America and worldwide.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (a British Muslim) stated that despite the attack London “remains one of the safest in the world.”

We fully support and applaud Mayor Khan’s comments of unifying together against terrorists. “We stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have and we always will.  Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”

We pray the same spirit of fortitude that characterized London against attacks in the past will remain firm even in the face of this latest tragedy.

American Muslims are partners in national security and with law enforcement on counter-terrorism. Several weeks ago AIA and ADAMS welcomed a delegation of European Muslim and civic leaders, including leaders from Great Britain, who came to study the methods we at AIA and ADAMS use to counter violent extremism.  We assure our British brothers and sisters that we will never falter in our support of their efforts to deal with and overcome these terrible actions, and our prayers and thoughts will always be with them in such troubling times.

FP: Five Ways Donald Trump Is Wrong About Islam

Somayyah Ghariani

The White House’s approach to the world’s second largest religion isn’t just bigoted – it’s a strategic disaster.

BY STEPHEN M. WALT

Donald Trump took up so bandwidth during the 2016 election cycle that we all paid insufficient attention to the people lurking within his campaign operation who have now moved into key policymaking positions. Foremost among these worrisome characters is White House political strategist Stephen Bannon, the former Goldman Sachs employee, Hollywood producer, and Breitbart chairman who appears to be behind much of Trump’s chaotic approach to foreign policy. But you could add oddballs like self-promoting national security “experts” like Sebastian Gorka (who falsely claimed to have been an expert witness at the Boston Marathon bombing trial) and nutcase Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, whose extreme views are apparently taken seriously by short-lived National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. To give you a sense of just how out-there Gaffney is, his think tank, the Center for Security Policy, has been identified as an “extremist group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and criticized by the Anti-Defamation League for promulgating “anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.”

What unites these people — and seems to drive Bannon in particular — is a belief that the United States, and, indeed, the entire Judeo-Christian West, is under siege from an insidious and powerful foe: “radical Islam.” See this article here, or this one. For the most extreme of them (that is, Gaffney), there’s no real distinction between jihadi terrorists and the entire Muslim religion. In this view, a hardened Islamic State killer is no different from that nice Muslim family who lives downstairs, next door, or across the street.

 As many of us have already noted this worldview depicts a Huntingtonian “clash of civilizations” on steroids, and it helps explain why people like Bannon are so fond of right-wing xenophobes like Marine Le Pen in France and autocrats like Vladimir Putin in Russia. If the entire Muslim world threatens us all, then these otherwise unsavory leaders can be defended as useful allies in the struggle to defend “Western” civilization against the oncoming Muslim hordes.

There’s only one thing wrong with this view as a template for U.S. foreign policy: It’s completely at odds with reality. Specifically, it ignores the true balance of power, overlooks the deep divisions within Islam itself, exaggerates the danger of terrorism and relies on assorted myths Islamophobes have been ceaselessly spouting for decades. If this view became the primary organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy, it would commit the United States and its allies to a costly, self-fulfilling and counterproductive crusade that will play right into the hands of the handful of genuine extremists that do exist. Needless to say, a conflict of this sort could also be used to justify further extensions of executive power here in the United States and further erode our democratic freedoms.

As a public service, therefore, I offer the Top Five Reasons Steve Bannon is Dead Wrong About the “Islamic Threat.” 

Continue reading “FP: Five Ways Donald Trump Is Wrong About Islam”

Countering Radicalization & Extremism in Europe By Effective Civic Outreach

Somayyah Ghariani

On Friday Feb 10, ADAMS and AIA 2020 welcomed the visit of a group of European Government Officials, Imams and religious and civic leaders who work in the field of countering radical extremism. The visit was arranged by Kate Manolakos,  program officer at the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), for the group to hold substantive discussions focusing on community engagement as a means of reducing and eliminating violent extremism.

State Department has over the past years arranged for many other groups to visit ADAMS for similar purposes, and to discuss the programs and activities that can be extrapolated and implemented in their respective home countries.  It was also an opportunity for the Muslim members of the Delegation to attend Friday prayers in a major American mosque.

Continue reading “Countering Radicalization & Extremism in Europe By Effective Civic Outreach”

From the Desk of the Executive Director- Black History Month

Somayyah Ghariani

As we near the end of Black History Month, I want to reflect on what the experiences of our brothers and sisters in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s means for the Muslim and other minority communities in America now.  The struggle then has opened pathways for all immigrants and minorities in America, and we should never forget the debt we all owe to these pioneers of Civil and Human Rights causes in America and worldwide.   Continue reading “From the Desk of the Executive Director- Black History Month”