Celebration of Abraham Members Seek to Heal the Community Following Imam Sermon

From Press Release – Members of the Celebration of Abraham came together Friday to discuss what role it will play going forward in healing the community after a sermon by the Imam at the Islamic Center of Davis became the focus of national news. The Celebration is a 15-year-old organization founded after 9/11 to promote interfaith understanding and cooperation.

Michael Hirsch, longtime member of Bet Haverim in Davis and founding member of the Celebration of Abraham, said, “There are people who simply want to stir the pot of controversy, as occurred following the Imam’s sermon. Some will respond by joining those divisive forces; others will respond depending on what is said. The Celebration provides the space for people to learn and understand without reinforcing extreme positions.”

Helen Roland, convener of the Celebration of Abraham added, “People need language to explain that they can disagree and say, ‘It is not right to speak that way,’ without saying, ‘I am your enemy.’ The goal of the Celebration is to provide that language through our deep connections.”

Hamza El-Nakhal, also an original founder of Celebration of Abraham and longtime Davis Muslim resident and community leader, emphasized, “We are grateful for the connections that the Celebration of Abraham has built over the last 15 years to allow people to immediately come together in difficult times to foster understanding and find solutions.”

The discussions that resulted in the July 27, 2017, press conference, while led by Muslim and Jewish communities, included members of the Celebration of Abraham. The apology given by the Imam at the press conference represents a starting point for our community to heal.  At the press conference, community leaders reflected on the importance of the capacity of our community to join together in difficult times. The Celebration will continue to foster that capacity.  It hopes that the events of the past week and the education and dialogue the Celebration will continue to offer will strengthen our community’s ability to overcome the tendency to take extreme positions in response to potentially divisive situations.

For more information email Celebration.Abraham@gmail.com

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