CA: INTERFAITH GROUP TAKES ON 'ISLAMOPHOBIA'
When U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison was sworn in as the first Muslim member of Congress in January, the Minnesota Democrat took his oath of office on a copy of the Quran that had belonged to the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson, considered one of the nation's more profound thinkers of his time, recognized there was strength in religious diversity and tolerance. The Southwest Riverside County Interfaith Council hopes to embrace Jefferson's idea of religious understanding.
The Interfaith Council, which represents 17 Temecula Valley area churches, temples and mosques, is promoting a movement to quell misconceptions people have of Muslims and about the Islamic faith. The council aims to highlight the similarities between creeds and how all groups can live and work together.
"This campaign is just a tool to break down the wall of 'Islamophobia,' but we can't do it alone," said Tarek Ayoub of Temecula, who is working with the Interfaith Council. "We need the help of our brothers and sisters of other faiths to communicate the message of understanding with their congregations."
The Interfaith Council is a body of faith-based community representatives who have joined together ---- according to the group's mission statement ---- to acknowledge the God-given dignity and equality of all people, to share a respect and compassion for all and to be a collective spiritual voice for human rights and justice.