Friday, March 17, 2017

USA: Faith leaders unite in San Bernardino in favor of refugees


“Every religious founder preached a message of compassion and humanity for those who flee persecution. Those messages are sorely needed right now, and San Bernardino, a diverse and vibrant city, is the perfect place to come together.”

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The San Bernardino Sun
By Ryan Hagen | March 16, 2017

Leaders of diverse faiths gathered Thursday with versions of the same message: We’re all descended from refugees, and our God commands us all to care for refugees today.

Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Baha’i faith leaders spoke at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Waterman Avenue for a symposium titled “Refugees, Dignity and Humanity: Perspectives of the Great Religious Founders.”

The event came as President Donald Trump pushes for a ban on refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries, which he frames as a security measure.

Courts so far have blocked both of Trump’s executive orders on the subject, saying they appear to be unconstitutional Muslim bans.

Most speakers Thursday didn’t explicitly touch on the specifics of policy.

But regardless of religion, it’s important to help the most vulnerable, said Faheem Ahmad, president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Inland Empire Chapter, which co-hosted the event along with the Mormon church.

“The commonality throughout religions of serving the world gives us the foundation on which to build solid, interfaith relationships,” Ahmad said. “Every religious founder preached a message of compassion and humanity for those who flee persecution. Those messages are sorely needed right now, and San Bernardino, a diverse and vibrant city, is the perfect place to come together.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whose Chino mosque is the largest Muslim mosque in San Bernardino County, is the only Islamic organization to believe that the messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908.

Speaking Wednesday evening at a rally in Nashville, Tenn., Trump called the ruling in Hawaii an example of “unprecedented judicial overreach” and said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also called his new travel ban a watered-down version of the first one, which he said he wished he could implement.

“We’re going to win. We’re going to keep our citizens safe,” the president said. “The danger is clear. The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear.”

Civic leaders also attended Thursday’s symposium, which included messages by San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan and Mayor Carey Davis.

Davis, a Mormon and Republican, quoted from the Declaration of Independence as well as the Bible: “If a man says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar,” Davis quoted. “For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

The Rev. Sandy Tice of First Presbyterian Church of San Bernardino said Jesus was born a refugee, and she told listeners to consider the parable of the Good Samaritan.

“The stranger – someone from a religious tradition that Jesus’ hearers would not have trusted – that was the person who stopped,” she said. “That was the person who showed mercy. That was the person that Jesus told his followers to be like. .... He invited his followers to leave home and family and the familiar, and you might say he invited them to come with him and be refugees. And he told us over and over and over again to love our neighbors.”


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