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Circle of Hands: People of Faith Respond in Solidarity

Cirlce of HandsAt the end of Ramadan and on the eve of 9/11, members of the diverse religious congregations of Silicon Valley gathered together Friday afternoon to "A Circle of Hands," a time to dedicate themselves once again to the work of building a community of peace, justice and cooperation.

The setting was most appropriate- Jim McEntee Plaza in front of the Santa Clara County Building in San Jose, named for the man who established the County Human Relations Commission and worked continually with the varied ethnic, religious, and civic groups within the city to bring about understanding and appreciation.

Distressed by the increasing news of anti-Muslim rhetoric, demonstrations against Mosques, and even personal attacks on Muslims, the people of Silicon Valley determined rather to speak out about the cherished role that Islam and Muslims have had in our midst, and to affirm our connections one to another.

Zen MonksThe gathering, organized by the Council of Churches of Santa Clara County, the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, and American Muslim Voice opened with a bell chant offered by the monks of the Chung Tai Zen Center, followed by introductory remarks that included Supervisor Dave Cortese. Supervisor Cortese was a member of the delegation that went to to the meeting of the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia last December to represent Silicon Valley as it was welcomed as a member of the Parliament's Partner City Network.

Prayers and scripture readings from Jewish, Jain, Protestant, Catholic, and Buddhist traditions then followed. In front of the platform was a table with copies of sacred texts from a number of different traditions-- Bibles, Qur'ans, and Torahs-- side by side, along with Jain scriptures and others.

Litany of CommunityImam Zaid Shakir, Co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley; Shafath Syed of the South Bay Islamic Association, and Imam Mubasher Ahmad, from the Ahmadiyya Community of Milpitas, brought greetings and thanks from the Muslim community, and reminded the assembly of the contributions that Muslims have made to the community together with neighbors of different faiths.

Ben Field of the South Bay Labor Council and Delorme McKee-Stovall, Manager of the Office of Human Relations, Santa Clara County described ongoing efforts to build bridges within the varied communities of Silicon Valley to the betterment of all.

Then, Samina Sundas of American Muslim Voice invited attendees to gather around the table and join hands. Rev. D. Andrew Kille of Interfaith Space, Ann McEntee, widow of Jim McEntee, and Rowan Fairgrove from Covenant of the Goddess led a community affirmation, punctuated by the gathered group's response: "We are one family. Together we will stand."

The service closed with the Muslim call to evening prayer and a closing chant from the Zen Community, but the conversations went well on into the evening here in the Valley of the Heart's Delight.

Thanks to Michael Sung for the photos.

See the flyer for the event.

Girish Shah, Rebecca Kuiken, Melanie Aron
Girish Shah (Jain Center), Rev. Rebecca Kuiken (ICEJ);
Rabbi Melanie Aron (Shir Hadash)
Girish Shah, Samina Sundas
Girish Shah (Jain Center) and Samina Sundas
(American Muslim Voice)
Jian Hu, Alan Jones
Ven. Jian Hu (Sunnyvale Zen Center);
Alan Jones (Campbell United Methodist)
Muslim woman
Zen monks Zen monks
Zen Center Monks
Girish Shah, Andrew Kille, Mubasher Ahmad
Girish Shah, Rev. Andrew Kille (Interfaith Space):
Imam Mubasher Ahmad (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community)
diverse crowd
supervisor Cortese
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese
diverse crowd
Girish Shah
Girish Shah
Council of Churches
Council of Churches representatives
Francisco Rios
Fr. Francisco Rios (St. John Vianney)
Jian Hu
Ven. Jian Hu (Zen Center)
crowd Shafath Syed
Shafath Syed, South Bay Islamic Association
Delorme McKee-Stovall
Delorme McKee-Stovall, County office of Human Relations
Imam Zaid Shakir
Imam Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna Institute
Dr. Mohammed Nadeen
Dr. Mohammed Nadeen, Muslim Community Association
Imam Mubasher Ahmad
Imam Mubasher Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Community
Rev. Rebecca Kuiken
Rev. Rebecca Kuiken, Interfaith Council on Economics & Justice
Samina Sundas
Samina Sundas, American Muslim Voice
group Andrew Kille, Rowan Fairgrove, Ann McEntee
Andrew Kille, Rowan Fairgrove & Ann McEntee lead community affirmation
group
making community affirmation
Zen monks
Zen monks with chant for peace
Call to prayer
Muslim call to prayer
monk, Jian Hu, Bruce Bramlett
Zen monk, Ven. Jian Hu, Rev. Bruce Bramlett

 

 

 

SouthBay InterfaithSouthbay Interfaith
For current information and events, see Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC)
www.sivicouncil.org | info@sivicouncil.org