[PARVEZ AHMED is board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations,
The world community has united to provide more than $7 billion in emergency
relief for the epic tsunami disaster that devastated parts of Asia.
Billions more have been pledged in developmental aid.
The U.S. government has provided $350 million in emergency aid, and
American private sector aid is expected to top $700 million.
From students organizing car washes to mothers doing bake sales, all of
these efforts point to the incredible generosity of ordinary Americans.
However, this outpouring of help has not stopped people from exploiting the
disaster in appealing to the darker side of humanity.
Some misguided members of the faiths represented in the disaster region
even blamed the tsunami on the actions of perceived enemies or on the wrath
of a vengeful God…
Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and knee-jerk anti-Americanism are expressions
of misunderstanding and close-mindedness.
The cure lies in meaningful cooperation in furthering the common causes of
peace and justice.
Glimpses of hope can be seen in media reports of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints collaborating with Islamic Relief Services to send 70
tons of relief supplies to Indonesia.
This sentiment of cooperation can be a catalyst for bringing a polarized
world closer together