Article Community Service

An Interfaith Open Letter to the City Council of Kennesaw, Georgia

An Interfaith Open Letter to the City Council of Kennesaw, Georgia

Author Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta Chapter by

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Press Release - For Immediate Release

The organizations and individuals who have signed this letter include Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths. We are united in our belief that everyone has the constitutional right to practice their religious faith in the ways they find meaningful. We deplore the action of the Kennesaw City Council in denying Muslims the right to practice their faith in a suite in the Kennesaw Commons shopping center. Comments at the City Council meeting on December 1, and public comments in the media and on Facebook reveal not only bigotry but a profound misunderstanding of the Islamic faith. Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam teaches love for friend and stranger.

We call upon the good citizens of Kennesaw and on the churches, synagogues and mosques to which they belong to stand up for U.S. values of religious freedom and tolerance. Together we can take away the power of fear-based thinking that produces intolerance and which can even lead to violence toward others who are perceived as different from ourselves. We invite you to join us in defining the United States as inclusionary and tolerant, celebrating our differences and commonalities. Join us in rejecting a fear-based worldview that does not speak for every citizen or resident and that denies basic principles and constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion.

We are proud of the relationships we have built with one another as Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others and would encourage others in our communities to do the same.

Signed by:

  • Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta Chapter
  • Interfaith Peace Builders-Atlanta Regional network
  • Fellowship of Reconciliation-Atlanta
  • Muslims for Progressive Values-Atlanta
  • The Kairos Mission Group of Oakhurst Baptist Church
  • Presbyterian Peacemaking Partnership of Atlanta
  • Joining Hands for Justice in Israel/Palestine
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Georgia
  • Humanist Fellowship of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
  • Students for Justice in Palestine-Georgia State University
  • Students for Justice in Palestine-Emory University
  • The Tikkun Olam Committee of Congregation Bet Haverim
  • LTP Jackson of the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation
  • Dan Browning, JD, Church Council Chair, Druid Hills United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA
  • Elizabeth Corrie, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Pamela Duncan, Lay Leader, Druid Hills UMC
  • Reverend Kimberly S. Jackson, Episcopal Chaplain at the Atlanta University Center (AUC)
  • Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim
  • Maia Hallward Carter, Ph.D., Professor of Middle East Politics
  • Dr. Sandra Bird, Professor of Art Education at Kennesaw State University
  • S.M. Ghazanfar, Ph.D.
  • _______________________
  • Rev. Melanie Vaughn-West, Pastor, Oakhurst Baptist Church
  • Islamic Society of Atlanta
  • The Interfaith Task Force of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia
  • Nick Almand, MCM., McAfee School of Theology, Newnan First United Methodist Church Director of Contemporary Worship & IT/Media
  • Rev. Amanda Haecker, High Priestess of the Circle of the Risen Phoenix
  • Rev. Matthew Haecker, Guardian Priest of the Circle of the Risen Phoenix
  • Lanny Peters, Pastor, Oakhurst Baptist Church
  • Valerie Morvan, President, Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta
  • Wesley N. Barker, Ph.D.

An Interfaith Call to Action
December 8, 2014

Specifically we call for the Kennesaw city council to stand in alliance with the constitutional rights and principles of the United States, particularly the freedoms of religion and assembly as is expressed in the First Amendment. We call for them to reconsider their decision and to support a religious community establishing a home for itself. We call on all citizens of Kennesaw to welcome a diversity of practices and beliefs, and to recognize the common hopes we have for ourselves as individuals and communities.

Generally, we call on the Atlanta area and the United States as a whole to speak out against anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia. We encourage learning about the religion and practices of Islam, to build relationships with Muslim individuals and communities and to work together on issues that affect our various communities collectively. We encourage everyone from all faiths and traditions to find meaningful ways to learn about each other’s religions, cultures and practices. These relationships are integral to thinking critically and acting consciously when freedoms are under attack. We believe that our diversity is our strength and that exercising and protecting the legal rights and freedoms we have in our country is a way to honor the potential of our humanity.

Click here to view the latest list of signatories.

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