Earlier this week, a group of pastors and rabbis asked the imam at the Raleigh Islamic Center whether they would welcome a prayer outside of their building to show local support from other religious groups toward Muslims.
It was the first time leaders from different faiths spoke about recent calls to ban the entry of Muslims to the United States, but it wasn’t the first time the leaders collaborated. As Mohammed Elgamal, chairman of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, explained it, some pastors, rabbis and imams communicate regularly.
“We go to their churches, we go to the temple, and they come to us,” Elgamal said.
So Imam Mohamed AbuTaleb welcomed the prayer. Dozens of people gathered early Friday afternoon for a prayer and a minute of silence for victims of recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Paris. Here are some of the remarks:
Pastor Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church: "As people of faith, as moral, ethical human beings, we cannot remain silent or invisible at the rise of intolerance toward, prejudice and hostility toward our Muslim brothers and sisters here in America any longer. There comes that moment where one must stand up to injustice and say, 'No more.' Donald Trump's recent remarks on the banning of Muslims from coming to the U.S. has brought us to that moment, and I am here and we are here to say no more."
Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue: "Language matters. Language hurts. Language can lead to violence. We will not stand idly by and let anyone speak about a religious minority in any other language aside from love, respect and tolerance."
Imam Mohamed AbuTaleb of the Raleigh Islamic Center: "We are united against hatred, against fear mongering, and against fear within our ranks. Today, we're remembering that when we target one minority, when we target one religion, when we target one skin color, we are collectively weaker, we are collectively marginalized, we are collectively less godly, less conscious and less human. We choose compassion over hate. We choose understanding over division, and we choose community over going our separate ways. So despite all the hardships we faced, this moment fills me with hope."