Ever since I heard that a minister in Gainesville, Fla., plans to burn copies of the Qur’an publicly on Sept. 11, I began to think about what people of faith can do to offer a counter-witness to such hatred and intolerance.
In Washington, D.C., we will hold our annual Unity Walk, an event that has taken place every year since 2002. We walk down Massachusetts Ave., and stop to visit an amazing variety of houses of worship on that route. As many as 2,000 people have attended in the past. We usually conclude our walk -- fittingly -- at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. We will hold it again this year, on Sept. 12.
But Catholic parishes and other groups might also plan "unity events," especially those showing solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers. Groups could invite a Muslim speaker, exchange church/mosque visits, or hold a joint public prayer service… there are lots of possibilities.
Such events do not have to take place on the weekend of Sept. 11, but public actions by people of faith in the next month or two can speak volumes about the value of interfaith understanding and dialogue in the face of the misinformed and destructive Islamophobia so much in evidence right now.