Reflections from the Community Bridge - MLK Day 2022
On this Martin Luther King Day, AMPD reflects on the legacy of Dr. King as an interfaith leader and visionary. At every chapter of America's history, Dr. King's dream is as timely and relevant as it was during the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King was a beacon of interracial harmony, but even more than that, he was a believer in: the force of love being the supreme unifying principle of life, which is the "Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality."
This past weekend, our interfaith leaders rose together to support the Congregation Beth Israel during an incident that shook the core of our community. In the spirit of Dr. King's legacy of interfaith harmony, North Texans from all faith communities stood in solidarity with our partner in faith:
* AMPD Advisory Board member, Dr. Raed Sbeit, who was onsite supporting law enforcement officials, remembered Dr. King's words in his reflections about the communal bond that served as a call to action from members of our faith community - "With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautify symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together... to stand up for freedom together."
* Azhar Azeez, former president of the Islamic Society of North America and Board member of the North Texas Islamic Council, was also onsite with other faith leaders. Though some seek “to build walls and divide us,” Azeez said, “we are not going to budge. We are all together.”
* AMPD Advisory Board member, Farheen Raza Abbas, reflected on the multiple interfaith efforts with Rabbi Charlie and Adena, who are both leaders in the community, and "whose dedication to creating ties is admirable." Abbas said "[her] family stands ready to support congregation Beth Israel in any way and send prayers to the Jewish community."
* Imam of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center, Dr. Omar Suleiman, tweeted, "The perpetrator cannot claim to have acted for any noble cause. He held a beloved faith leader to our community and his congregants hostage with no regard. And those that will use this to stoke the flames of hatred and division will fail as he did, God willing."
As we come together to heal as a community, we recognize that this is "a time to break silence."
[Excerpt from "A Time to Break Silence," April 4, 1967]
"This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing -- embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality."