Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, political leaders, representatives of law enforcement, business leaders and more came from all over Long Island to attend the Islamic Center of Long Island’s recent Interfaith Institute Award event. More than 300 people attended the second annual event on Oct. 1—triple the amount that attended last year’s inaugural event.
ICLI’s Interfaith Institute was established in October 2015 to further the center’s vision and mission, which was established in 1984: “Be a Center of excellence for developing and sustaining a progressive, vibrant interfaith community and a nurturing environment for the society at large. Engage Muslims and members of other faiths by promoting values and teachings of Islam and other faiths and to advocate/promote inter-faith harmony in a multicultural environment in accordance with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah.”
This year’s awardee was Dr. Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies, director of the Pluralism Project, faculty dean of the Lowell House at Harvard University and member of the Faculty of Divinity. Eck was awarded the 2017 interfaith institute award for her seminal work in the field of religious pluralism in general and the religious dimensions of America’s new immigrants in particular—Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian communities in the United States; and the issues of religious pluralism and American civil society. In her remarks, Eck emphasized the need and importance for developing networking and collaboration amongst different faith groups at the grassroots level.
A panel discussion was also held with speakers from the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC), an interfaith, bipartisan collaboration convened by the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America in 2016.
The speakers were Farooq Kathwari, co-chair of MJAC and Robert Silverman, MJAC’s national director. Kathwari is the chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. Both panelists addressed several questions dealing with MJAC and its current and future plans. Both presentations were well received by the 300 plus attendees from various faith groups.
At a time when we are constantly being exposed to divisive speech and incidents that divide us, the ICLI’s Second Interfaith Institute Award event brought Americans of all colors, religions, nationalities and cultures together to learn from each other in an atmosphere of kindness, friendship and peace.
—Submitted by the Islamic Center of Long Island