SiVIC Response to Florida Shootings

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– – – #NoMore

The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council joins with millions to voice our horror of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  We have said this so many times, along with our thoughts and prayers. People of faith or no faith need to come together to stop this senseless violence.  High school students are beginning to rally.  Religious communities and NGOs should do the same.  With money being cut from social services programs, perhaps we can make our voices heard above the sound of bullets and cries.  #NoMore deaths of innocent people, young or old, no matter what their race, color, creed, religion or no religion, sexual identity, or national origin.  Make some noise!

Bishop of San Jose responds to attack in Egypt

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
December 1,2017

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,
Sincerely yours,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose

See original letter: McGrath letter re: Sufis

SiVIC Newsletter- September 2017

Silicon Valley Interreligious CouncilThe 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.

See the September issue here.

Subscribe to the newsletter.

SiVIC Newsletter- July 2017

Silicon Valley Interreligious CouncilThe newsletter for July 2017 includes the upcoming SiVIC Forum on “I Am the Other: Countering Stereotypes, Religious Illiteracy, and Hate Speech,” an Interreligious Conference: Faith and Service at the Jain Center, a Dessert Gala for Yezidi Relief and our Multifaith calendar of religious observances and listing of interfaith opportunities.

See the July issue here.

Subscribe to the newsletter.

SiVIC Newsletter- June 2017

SiVIC Newsletter

The newsletter for June 2017 includes articles on the Unity Rally held on June 10, the upcoming SiVIC Forum on “I Am the Other: Countering Stereotypes, Religious Illiteracy, and Hate Speech,” and our Multifaith calendar of religious observances and listing of interfaith opportunities.

See the June issue here.

Subscribe to the newsletter.

Bay Area Joint Statement Against Hate

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area benefit from both individuals and institutions whose faith motivates them to provide food to the hungry, shelter to the needy, inexpensive or free health care, and other humanitarian services.

Our history includes episodes of injustice and harmful conduct based on ethnicity, race, and nationality, but also a strong history of opposing bigotry and embracing all people of good conscience. We also value our history of embracing individuals’ right to practice the faith tradition of their choice.

While some isolated individuals in our community may sometimes hold events designed to foster hatred and fear, those involved in legally expressing their political opinions must enjoy the protection of our nation’s laws. However, we similarly exercise our speech rights to reject and marginalize hate speech and attempts to divide our communities.

Islamic societies, organizations, places of worship, and communities enrich and benefit the spiritual, moral and cultural life of our community. We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the equal moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the same full moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Together with dozens of local religious and community groups

See Facebook for updates

An Interview with Girish Shah

The United Religions Initiative recently interviewed Girish Shah, founding member and Treasurer of SiVIC for a recent profile: “3 followers of Eastern Traditions engaged in interfaith work.”

Girish, a leader of the Jain Center of Northern California in Milpitas, explains how his tradition leads him into interfaith cooperation”

“The creed of Jainism is non-violence, not only in action, but in speech and thought,” Shah said. “Thought translates to speech, and speech translates to action. To stop the violent action, we need to start with our thoughts. ”

Girish Shah

Girish Shah

SiVIC is a Cooperating Circle of the United Religions Initiative, a global network of interfaith groups. Read the rest of the article, including Girish, Dr. Prem Kahlon (Sikh), and Dr. Ji Hyang Padma (Buddhist) on the URI website.