On Sunday, February 5, the Justice Action Ministry brought before the congregation a banner reading, "We Stand with Our Muslim Neighbors." When JAM's representative, Annie Maurer, asked for the congregation's approval for hanging it outside, those present gave the effort a standing ovation. These words represent the support of people of one religious faith for another – their right to practice their faith and be treated with respect and to be accorded dignity.
The banner grew out of two things. First and most obvious is the threat many immigrants, refugees and Muslims in general are feeling at the moment. Attacks on mosques are among the reasons as are new restrictions on immigration and threats of deportation. Affirming the right of all people to worship as they choose in free conscience is a fundamental principle of Unitarian Universalism.
Second is the awareness that grew out of the recent visit several of us made to the Yusuf Mosque in Brighton. We went to attend their Friday prayer service with a sermon in English, to have lunch with members of the community, and, most of all, to show our respect. Our hosts could not have been more gracious and welcoming, and they particularly wanted us to share with the congregation their deep gratitude for friendship and support in these challenging times. Appropriately, Imam Ismail Fekki's sermon was on Islam's mandate to be good neighbors.
With blessings for neighborliness,
Rev. Susan Milnor