In November, Islamist militants exploded a bomb at a Sufi mosque in Egypt, killing over 300 people, including women and children. In response to that attack, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose wrote to the community:
Office of the Bishop
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With this letter, I wish to add my voice and the voice of the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of San Jose in an expression of deepest sorrow over the brutal act of violence directed at our Sufi brothers and sisters in Egypt.
We live in a time of brutality and undeniable disregard for human life, yet it is in times such as this that the measure of our faith is tried and tested. Although I am not unfamiliar with violence and its deep effect on the families of its victims, I cannot even imagine the anguish you are experiencing. At the same time, over the years my faith has helped me recognize the true power that comes to life when we are able to respond to hate with love and compassion.
The words of the poet, Rumi, came to mind, and have echoed in my heart for the past few days:
Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.
It is my prayer that we may stand in solidarity with the Sufi community to express our sorrow and acknowledge their – and our – pain. Be assured of my own renewed commitment to end intolerance. Be also assured that I will ask my priests to offer prayers for the Sufi community and for all religious minorities in Egypt so that through acts of solidarity and love, the Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Sufi communities might work together to end intolerance and violence, both here and abroad.
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose
See original letter: McGrath letter re: Sufis
SiVIC joins with faith communities around the Bay Area who are grieving with the residents of Sutherland Springs, where a sacred space became the site of the deadliest mass shooting at a church in modern American history. Whether it’s a small Baptist church in rural Texas, or any house of prayer across the country that becomes a place of violence and insecurity, we all feel more vulnerable and unsafe.
While our hearts are pained, we are strengthened by our local community’s efforts to increase community safety. Two weeks ago, the San Jose City Council approved a measure that requires gun owners to secure their firearms when they are not at home. This ordinance was supported by the Safe Cities Coalition which is part of PACT. Safe Cities Coalition’s mission is “answering the call to take responsibility for our children and neighbors to ensure that all are safe from gun violence.” Endorsers of this call among the faith community include Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community, Social Justice Council, First Unitarian Church of San Jose, Interfaith Peace Coalition, Women of Shir Hadash Sisterhood, Beth Am Women, Los Altos United Methodist Church, Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, Reverend Nancy Palmer Jones/San Jose First Unitarian Church, Rowan Fairgrove/Own Moon/Northern California Local Council/Covenant of the Goddess, Rabbis Against Gun Violence.
We share the statement issued by the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment ( www.csecenter.org).
— – The Center for Spiritual Enlightenment joins with other faith communities to pray for the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas following the recent attack at First Baptist Church.
We extend our hearts and prayers, with compassion, for people everywhere who experience grief and loss as a result of violence. May we all experience peace and healing through sharing loving kindness.
We also are sharing the following press release issued by the Evergreen Islamic Center.
PRESS RELEASE – Sunday, November 5, 2017
EVERGREEN ISLAMIC CENTER (www.eicsanjose.org)
2486 Ruby Avenue, San Jose, CA 95148
— Horrific shooting in Texas. We must collectively work to banish the madness of gun culture in America. —
Peaceful worshipers gathered at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, this morning to sing the praise of the Creator when a homicidal gunman walked in and opened fire, killing at least 26 of our fellow-Americans and injuring at least 20 more. We are horrified by this cold-blooded massacre, and while we offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, we recognize how inadequate this gesture has become. We join millions of our fellow-Americans in calling for a strict gun control policy to stop the senseless deaths of innocent Americans that keep occurring with sickening frequency in our country. The times demand a new interpretation of the Second Amendment. There is enough consensus to defeat the gun lobby and the cowardly lawmakers beholden to the NRA. Meanwhile we, members of the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, CA, urge Muslims in and around the San Antonio area in Texas to donate blood for the injured in the deadly shooting today and to bond in solidarity with the families who lost their loved ones. Amen.
Hasan Zillur Rahim
Director of Media Outreach
Evergreen Islamic Center
At this time of loss and sadness, we have deep appreciation for the substantive efforts of the faith community.
SiVIC Executive Board
The Teen Interfaith Council learned about the Sikh tradition and helped serve at the langar, the meal that is offered to anyone who wishes to come to the Gurdwara. Thanks to Steve Herrera for the photos and video.
The newsletter for September 2017 includes 11 Days of Global Unity, the 2017 SiVIC Assembly and Forum, International Day of Peace, Meet a Muslim, Walk to Feed the Hungry, and our Multifaith calendar of religious observances and listing of interfaith opportunities.
Join us for a celebration of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and our work to promote a more just and compassionate community. Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors endorsed the Charter for Compassion and declared our county to be “Compassionate Santa Clara County.” What would a compassionate county look like? Hear a panel discussion with community leaders, governmental officials, and religious leaders engage the theme. We’ll also have a guest choir, awards honoring those people who have helped make SiVIC what it is today and the chance to meet people from across the religious spectrum of Silicon Valley.
Please RSVP for the SiVIC Assembly 2017 and Forum, so that we can accommodate all attendees.
For any questions or further information, please contact Rev. Joy-Ellen Lipsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More details here.
Thanks to Steve Herrera.
Community members from across the spectrum joined together on Sunday, August 20 for a celebration of unity, a response to the recent events in Charlottesville, and a pledge with local public officials to work together toward justice in the community at large. Civic leaders attending included San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, SJ Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose City Council members Chappie Jones and Lan Diep, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, and US Representative Zoe Lofgren.
The event was hosted at Evergreen Baptist Church on the east side of San Jose.
For more, see the San Jose Mercury News.
Deacon Steve Herrera, of the SiVIC Board, took photos of the event.
From its formation, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council has devoted itself to building interreligious understanding and harmony in order to seek a more just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.
We, as people seeking compassion and reconciliation, are grieved and stunned by the activities over this past weekend by those who value neither. We lament the loss of life and disruption of the community. We of diverse faiths stand together unified against Hate. We grieve the murder of Heather Heyer who was standing up for our values. We will not stand idly by, as all our faiths compel us to raise our voices clearly against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia of any kind.
We commit ourselves anew to the task of bringing all people together for the good of the whole community. Hate is not welcome here.
For statements from other Bay Area Interfaith Councils, see the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.
The newsletter for August 2017 includes Responding to Charlottesville, Interreligious Conference on Faith and Service, the Dessert Gala for Yezidi Relief and our Multifaith calendar of religious observances and listing of interfaith opportunities.
This coming Sunday, July 23, join us at 1:30 pm at the Bay Area Youth Vaishnav Parivar in Milpitas for a panel and discussion on countering stereotypes, religious illiteracy and hate crimes. Our panel includes distinguished speakers from Hindu, Jewish, Ahmadiyya Muslim and Sikh communities.
Full details and registration are available HERE.