In the face of growing polarization and increasing hate and violence it is important for faith leaders to stand together and affirm the spiritual values we hold in common. Here is a Declaration from the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington presented at a press conference co-sponsored by them, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and our Faith Community Advisory Council that was held at the Washington Hebrew Congregation. The one minute statement of our Interfaith Community Liaison and video is also here for your review.
“Education is your passport to integration”, wise words shared during yesterday’s Interfaith Dialogue with the Muslim Belgium Delegation. It was a pleasure to share and learn about each others similarities and differences. Thank you to the Civilizations Exchange & Cooperation Foundation (CECF) for bringing such a well rounded, diverse delegation to learn about interfaith relations in Montgomery County!
Photos By: Chuck Lee
The Faith Community Advisory Council hosted an Open House event on June 19 at the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD for their partners in creating social cohesion and public safety. This event thanked all members of MCFRS, MCPD, OEMHS and DHHS for their participation and dedication over the years to empower and support faith communities of Montgomery County.
On April 23, 2018 our Interfaith Community Liaison, Rev. Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman had the pleasure of presenting the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Service Award to Mr. Tufail Ahmad at the Montgomery Serves Awards. Below is a statement from Rev. Kaseman.
“My friend, Tufail Ahmad, is not exactly like the heroic Robin Hood, because he takes from his own people. He takes their money, hundreds of thousands of dollars; he takes food by the ton, clothing by the car load and organizes volunteers to give it away. He doesn’t care about their faith or ethnicity or race. His only criteria is do they need it?
Tufail Ahmad is also like Roscoe Nix. Regardless of the abuse, prejudicial comments and actions directed at his community, he always greets you with a smile, and an outstretched hand.
You quickly recognize this man is bright, focused and organized. He does not waste a lunch or even a phone call without asking you for something he knows you can deliver.
You want to deliver it because Tufail has the heart and soul of a Muslim. He is a merciful, compassionate and charitable man living out the tenants and spirit of his faith.
Subsequently it’s natural for him to be working with kindred spirits in all faith traditions and no faith tradition creating a more welcoming, inclusive, resilient, just and peaceful Montgomery County.
We will learn more about this remarkable Montgomery County hero viewing this video.”
The presentations of our County Executive, Isiah Leggett; Chief of Police, Tom Manger; Director of DHHS, Uma Ahluwalia; and Associate Superintendent for Elementary Education, Dr. LaVerne Kimball demonstrated their commitment to meeting the needs and interests of the Muslim community.
Comments and questions were very helpful in confirming what is working well and clarifying where more attention by our County officials needs to be placed now. The FCAC can assure that the Muslim Advocacy Group will be following up on this Summit and its Chair, Lubna Ejaz, will be pleased to have your participation in strengthening the voice of the Muslim community.
Thank you to our hosting mosque and INMC Founding Member, the Muslim Community Center.
Top 10 Reasons for Attending the Launch of INMC
1. Hear County Executive, Ike Leggett, address the importance of INMC.
2. Hear Police Chief, Laura Lanham, speak about their partnerships of faith communities.
3. Hear the President and CEO of HIAS, Mark Hetfield, address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis migrants, refugees and immigrants face today.
4. Hear the President of Healthcare Initiative Foundation, Crystal Townsend, address current healthcare and hunger needs in Montgomery County.
5. Hear the Associate Superintendent, Jonathan Brice, address current challenges facing MCPS.
6. Enjoy a video celebrating ways faith communities are crossing lines of difference.
7. Meet leaders at the largest Resource Fair ever assembled for faith communities that will empower programs including security, social justice, religious land use and religious education.
8. Broaden understanding and appreciation for the extraordinary diversity of Montgomery County.
9. Enjoy a wonderfully diverse social setting with delicious refreshment, live music and a slideshow.
10. Experience the power of inclusion overcoming division, love overcoming fear, relationships overcoming prejudice and hope overcoming despair.
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The Securing Houses of Worship Workshop was attended by over 70 faith leaders, ushers, office staff, building and grounds and worship committee members. Pictures include the Rev. Dr. Carol Flett, Co-Chair of the Faith Community Working Group who coordinated it, and presenters, Chief Luther Reynolds of MCPD; Sgt. Brian Tupa, Special Operations MCPD; Brian Johnson, Director of Security for Jewish Federation and JCRC; Capt. Don Mandeville, bomb Squad CommanderMCFRS; and James McCelland, Emergency Management Specialist, DEMHS. It was hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville.
Welcoming Our New Neighbors (WONN) was featured at the Annual Meeting of Interfaith Works (IW) because it illustrates the benefit of IW partnering with the County Executive’s Faith Community Advisory Council. WONN has over 50 faith communities engaged in welcoming and supporting refugee.
To date 12 families have been resettled in Montgomery County. An updated guide for families and faith communities was released and County Executive, Ike Leggett, representatives from Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church and the MoCo Muslim Foundation and others spoke to the importance of working across lines of difference in acknowledging our common humanity and serving one another.