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WITNESS TO PEACE

WITNESS TO PEACE : A Multi Religious Gathering With Pope Francis at WTC Museum Friday September 25th 2015

Background : Earlier this year when we heard about the visit of Pope Francis we extended an invite for him to formally launch the interfaith institute at ICLI which he was unable to accommodate. Subsequently we received several requests asking us to 'nominate' Muslims for the prayer session at WTC, which we did. From the ICLI nominees, Br Habeeb Ahmed and I were invited.

Impressions : It was indeed a unique gathering with representatives from ALL faiths both on the podium and the audience which was about three to four hundred--a colorful gathering indeed.

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove and Imam Khalid Latif presented reflections from Torah and Quran followed by Meditation on Peace read in sacred tongue and English from Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian and Muslim tradition-- read by Dr. Sarah Sayeed (an ICLI alumni) and Imam Khalid Latif. This was followed by a presentation by Pope Francis who reflected on the tragedy of 9/11 its meaning and impact--a moving presentation.

Overall I felt the Muslim's were received with love and appreciation, some other Muslim invitees were from national organizations--ISNA/ICNA/APPNA/WISE, Majlis Shura of NYC was well represented.

I was pleasantly surprised to find special arrangements had been made for Friday prayers in a church near the WTC. Br Habeeb and I participated in that.

Pope Francis Message from the program brochure: " Dialogue is born from an aƫtude of respect for the other person, from a convicƟon that the other person has something good to say. It assumes that there is room in the heart for the person's point of view, opinion, and proposal. To dialogue entails a cordial reception, not a prior condemnation. In order to dialogue, it is necessary to know how to lower the defenses, open the doors of the house, and offer human warmth."

Below is a link for an article Imam Khalid wrote about his experience at the prayer service and attached is copy of the invitation ticket and a picture which pretty much summarizes the outcome of this unique get together.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/26/opinions/latif-popefrancis/index.html

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September 25, 2015

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New York, USA
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