Praying for Boston, Overcoming Fear, and Speaking Out Against Islamaphobia

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions released these statements in the newsletter and on CPWR social media channels in response to the April 15, 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon.

During the FBI search for the second suspect, widespread misinformation circulated like a virus on the Internet implicating Islamic extremism in the crime. The older brother, suspect number one, died after sustaining fatal injuries in a gunfight with the police the night before. He was identified as an immigrant from Chechnya,  This led to violent and hateful backlash against peaceful Muslim-Americans. The Parliament responded on Friday, April 19:

What do Martin Richard’s words, “No more hurting people, peace,” really mean?

We are mourning the injuries and loss of life sustained in the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent events. But we condemn the way in which media and the public have so quickly targeted Muslims. What we know:

Several Boston Muslims were beaten this week, including a Muslim physician, before images of the suspects surfaced.

Yet, Muslims have been helpers and healers. Muslims have been running the Boston marathon for years. Working in the center of catastrophe, Muslims were first responders, surgeons operating on victims, and doctors supervising chaotic emergency rooms,

Interfaith action must be immediate to challenge generalizing Muslims.

  • We challenge shameful media: A Fox commentator tweeted that all Muslims be killed.
  • We challenge criminalizing faiths: If a bomber is Muslim, why is it a Muslim crime, but a white, Christian carries out a massacre in the case of Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary, and his faith is not a question?
  • Islamophobia is as harmful as ANY OTHER FORM of hate, equal to Anti-Semitism and racism towards African-Americans and Latinos.

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions would like to help share resources for Interfaith action. Please notify [email protected], Faiths Against Hate Coordinator, with any useful tips.

Thank you for standing in solidarity. Peace.

 On Tuesday, April 16, 2012 in response to the bombing at the Boston marathon the prior day:

The Council that convenes the Parliament of the World’s Religions reels in the pain felt worldwide because of yesterday’s tragic bombing. We share our deepest sympathy for those who’ve lost life and limb, their families, and the City of Boston. For many still fighting to stay alive, we stand with you.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions commits to channeling the energy of love and prayers into unyielding action against violence.

We honor the runners whose beautiful journeys, many in tribute to the slain of Sandy Hook Elementary, were robbed of their triumphant finish. Their strength and determination exemplified heroism yesterday when running through that harrowing scene to aid the wounded. We must not let the hope they give us all become tarnished by violence.

We hope that the culprits are found and apprehended soon. Whether terrorists are domestic- or foreign-born, we must not abide five years passing before identifying perpetrators, such as transpired after the 1996 Olympic Games bombing in Atlanta, GA.  Naming the guilty parties is critical to restoring a sense of security, but we also emphasize that perpetrators of violence should be included in your prayers. This act is strong and healing.

The Interfaith movement must move to show that there is another way. Interfaith prayer vigils and worship services can unite us, but we must also be organized to mediate the ongoing hate fear and anger into positive human relationships.

It is our duty to intervene in the blame game. Communities and individuals of all religious, faith, and spiritual backgrounds must act in harmony to promote peace. It is imperative to break this cycle of violence that is fueled by fear. Every tragedy divides us when we see an enemy in our faith neighbor. This Boston bombing, like the Madrid train bomb, and September 11 have cultivated a pervasive fear. It hurts us all.

In this spirit we continue a year-long campaign to combat hate. Our nationwide Faiths Against Hate initiative moves to mediate hate, fear, and anger through common goals of peace into positive human relationships. Through webinars, social networking, and day-long trainings, Faiths Against Hate is equipping faith leaders and all who are called to make a difference in this uphill movement. Constructively empowering communities to act courageously with new tools can stop these brutal acts against humanity.

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