The beloved interfaith community

Today’s guest blogger is Anthony Fatta is a Master of Divinity candidate at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN. He … Continued

Today’s guest blogger is Anthony Fatta is a Master of Divinity candidate at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN. He co-founded Mosaic, a student group that strives for justice through interfaith action and conveys to future religious leaders the importance of interfaith cooperation.

A few weeks ago, a mosque in Nashville, Tenn., was vandalized with spray paint spelling out “Muslims Go Home” and the drawing of a crusade-style cross. It is thought that the vandalism was in response to a local television news special called Islamville that was exploring a Muslim community living in a rural area outside of Nashville. This news special was conducted in response to a video entitled Homegrown Jihad produced by the Christian Action Network, which portrays this Tennessean Muslim community as a terrorist training facility.

After seeing that the Al-Farooq mosque had been vandalized, I immediately got in contact with my interfaith student group at Vanderbilt, Mosaic, to discuss what we could do. We agreed that we would to offer our help in cleaning and raise money to help the mosque invest in a security system – efforts we have started already and will continue to do.

As a Christian and a future religious leader, I deem it necessary to respond to this incident. An attack on the Muslim community is an attack to my own religious community and to anyone who believes in religious freedom. The destruction of anything sacred is unacceptable. An incident like this is adverse to not only my Christian faith and convictions but also as a student at Vanderbilt and a resident of Nashville. I cannot be idle when the security and well-being of another religious community is at stake. For that matter, neither should any of you, regardless of your beliefs.

A few months after settling into my new Church in Nashville, my pastor asked me to explain how I was acting as the “Hands of Christ” in my life to the congregation. Was my Christian faith encouraging me to pursue Gospel Justice in my own community? I explained to him the interfaith service work I have done and that the “Hands of Christ” were present in each and every project. Helping this mosque was no exception.

The duty of an interfaith leader, who can be anyone who believes in peace and cooperation between religious and non-religious communities, is not to just respond to these events as they happen but work towards preventing them. We all have a responsibility in this type of interfaith work and our many traditions, religious or non-religious, call for action.

I am committed to build Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a beloved community through Mosaic, the interfaith student group at Vanderbilt Divinity School, but I hope that many of you today will articulate to your own communities why such acts of vandalism are affronts to us all. It may seem daunting to reach out to those in need but by ensuring the safety and freedom of others, we protect our own freedoms and rediscover our call to life in harmony: in love and in service.

The content of this blog reflects the views of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of either Eboo Patel or the Interfaith Youth Core.

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  • abhab1

    Mr Fatta:

  • abhab1

    Mr. Fatta:

  • AKafir

    Couple of “interfaith” activities by Eboo’s coreligionists in Eboo’s land of origin were all over the news. Did Eboo write to anyone saying how all of this gives Islam a bad name? At least Ishtiaq Ahmed, the muslim in Norway, worte to a Pakistani Newspaper demanding that Islam should try to reform itself. Where has Eboo ever in any column of his ever looked at Islam and the activities of the Muslims front and square? Instead he writes in the hope of aiding and abetting, perhaps, the stealth Jihad among the Americans. ***********************The barbaric, appalling beheading of Jaspal Singh — one of the three Sikhs who were taken hostage by the Taliban — has shocked decent, peace-loving people all over the world. Two versions are in circulation. One that their families failed to pay the huge ransom that the Taliban thugs had demanded; two, that the ransom was paid but the Taliban insisted that the Sikhs convert to Islam, which they refused. In both cases there is absolutely no justification for the savage treatment meted out to Jaspal Singh.However, even when Muslims kill Muslims, the ulema and the masses usually keep quiet unless someone in their own sub-sect or family is hurt. I do not remember any demonstrations in Pakistan or anywhere else in the Muslim world when Iran and Iraq waged a war against each other in the 1980s, which killed some 1.5 million boys and men. Beheadings and stoning to death are a regular occurrence in Saudi Arabia, in fact every Friday, I am told. Those given such savage treatment are Muslims from poor countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia or non-Muslim workers from anywhere from Asia or Africa. Raping female servants, 2 killed in Karnataka over article on Taslima NasreenTwo persons died and four others were injured in Shimoga district during violent protests against an article written by controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen in a Kannada newspaper…….

  • andyinbethesda

    An excellent article. It’s unfortunate that any posting by or through you, Eboo, brings out the loony bins in response, but at least it shows their true colors and the vital work that you do and that needs to be done.

  • yasseryousufi

    An Honorable deed indeed Mr. Fatta. Kindly ignore the usual hate mongering vegetarian of this blog KAFIR aka ABHAB. This guy has some serious mental issues and thinks people get impressed by his idiotic thesises. There are more things that bind Muslims, Christians and Jews together than those that differentiate us. The need to know more about different cultures and practices has never been greater. With respect we can build bridges. And thank you Eboo for the sterling work you are doing in bringing out these people from different walks of life with their message of goodness~!

  • YEAL9

    The fact that the 9/11 Muslim terrorists were college grads/students and the nine Muslims who tried to burn down an airport in the UK were doctors reinforces the statement:”The Koran makes all Muslims radicals and therefore very dangerous.”We await for the Islamic imams to unite and demand the Koran be rewritten with all passages demanding Muslim male domination of women and the world be delelted.Conservative Jews in the USA have rewritten the Torah to reflect the myths therein basically making it a document of peace.Thomas Jefferson did an analogous rewrite of the NT. ” Thomas Jefferson omitted it (Revelation) along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he considered it (Revelation) as “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.” ^ Bergh: Writings of Thomas

  • Indian51

    “Islam is not a religion of peace. The biggest terrorist is the God of the Quran. I know this is very dangerous and this will offend many people. The more you follow the steps of the prophet of Islam and the God of Islam, the more you get close to being a terrorist.” –Mosab Hassan Yousef, the Hamas spy in an AP interview.

  • garoth

    Thank you, Mr. Patel, for your article. The blogs I read here attest to the continuing necessity of your work. The voices of intolerance are always strident, seeking to cause fear and backlash against those whom they perceive to be threats. I have worked with a number of Muslims, going back over twenty years, previous to the Gulf War and Intifada, leading our Synod’s Peace Task Group, attempting to bring together representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities to talk about our faith and issues of common concern. The “stealth Jihad” is a myth, as is the declaration that Islam is, at heart, only interested in destroying non-believers. Lik my own scriptures, there are calls to Holy Wars, but there are also many passages calling for respect of others. The holy writings of both Islam and Christianity can be used either way, and it is not religion that wins that argument in either case, but ignorance and fear.Again, thank you for your article and your work.

  • journeyer58

    Part of the problem with all of the religionists is the idea of ‘we are the only religion that tells the truth and if you don’t listen to us you will spend eternity regretting your decision to think differently than we do.’

  • hitman2

    The paid servants who are always found here, writing rant comments for months and months has nothing new to say.

  • YEAL9

    “Eboo Patel is working for a better world”Is he? See some added information below:Eboo Patel pays himself well from his Interfaith Youth Core non-profit group’s receipts (donations etc.) which, based on the group’s IRS Form 990, appears to be more of a stock holding company for Mr. Patel than it is a non-profitDid Eboo Patel’s Interfaith Youth Core work for Obama’s election campaign as we see Eboo is not only on the recent Chicago Council of Global Affairs’ task force but also on Obama’s Faith advisory council?Did a Faith Intiative grant from the State Department help defray the cost of CCOGA’s report and Mr. Patel’s task force pay?