This December a group of 17 Minneapolis senior clergy published a half-page advertisement entitled “A Call for Compassion” in the city’s leading newspaper, The StarTribune. These Christian, Unitarian, Universalist, Jewish and Muslim clergy asserted the following propositions (with explanations):
- We “abhor and condemn violence perpetrated in the name of religion. No faith tradition, including Islam, condones hatred and injury toward others, except as distorted by extremists.”
- “We are compelled to stand up and speak out.”
- “Interfaith dialogue is the antidote to religious violence.”
An image of the complete advertisement is available online; it includes a photograph of some of the clergy at this Thanksgiving Day’s Interfaith Worship Service at Westminster Presbyterian Church, which was the subject of a prior post. I urge all to read this important proclamation.
This Call for Compassion is addressed to all people of good will, and as a Christian and member of Westminster, I urge others and myself to do at least the following:
- Never utter comments of hate or derision at another person or his or her religious faith..
- If someone else makes such utterances, say: “Your comment is hurtful and objectionable. You should immediately apologize and never say such things again to anyone.”
- Greet strangers with a smile and a “Hello” or “ Good morning.”
- During Ramadan, when you see someone in what appears to be Muslim attire, say, “Hello, have a meaningful Ramadan.”
- Learn more about religious faiths.
- Learn more about the history and law regarding refugees.
- Learn more about the current plight in 123 countries of 32.2 million refugees and other persons of interest to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
- Get to know the refugees and Muslims in our midst and their concerns.
- Object to proposals to restrict U.S. receptivity to refugees.
- Let your elected officials know your thoughts on these issues.
- Make financial contributions to organizations that seek to protect refugees, including Minneapolis’ own Advocates for Human Rights and the American Refugee Committee.
 This blog has discussed that history: Refugee and Asylum Law: The Pre-Modern Era (July 7, 2011); Refugee and Asylum Law: The Modern Era (July 9, 2011); Refugee and Asylum Law: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (July 10, 2011); U.S. Process for Screening Refugees (Nov. 24, 2015).
 A World of Refugees (March 30, 2012); Global Forced-Displacement Tops 50 Million (June 22, 2014); UNHCR, Global Report 2014 (June 2015); UNHCR, Global Appeal 2016-2017; António Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Remarks to U.N. General Assembly (Nov. 20, 2015).