Religious leaders from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities in Naperville come together once a month to discuss how they can work together and learn from each other.
Religion brings people together and faith gives meaning to life for many, but religious conviction has often been the excuse people use to justify violence and hate. Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all call Naperville home, where they each can worship their own way. Understanding the beliefs of each can lead to a mutual respect.
“We need to learn about each other and learn about each other’s practices. The more we learn about each other and be able to understand each other, the more we will respect each other and be able to understand the perspective or the mindset of each other. And, be able to use that mindset to better foster commonalities and work toward a common goal,” says Imam Mir Rizwan Ali of the Naperville Islamic Center.
Other religious leaders in the community agree respect is the key to creating a peaceful religious community. Rabbi Mendy Goldstein stresses that message in his teachings, “we take it upon ourselves to love our fellow just like we love ourselves. It seems simple but the idea is to just respect others,” the Rabbi says.
Love is an important cornerstone of Christianity and Pastor John Mullholland at Naperville Christian Church thinks it’s the key to respecting others, “Christ has loved us in an unconditional way, so our goal as a church is to love people regardless of who they are.”
All three religious leaders agree that service is important to each of their religions. Each religion can work together to help causes that affect everyone in society.
Freedom of religion comes with responsibility. In order to create a cohesive community we need to understand the religions of people around us and respect each other.
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