By Hamid Saahir
Washington, D.C. – With the media whirlwind around the anti-Muslim sentiment that has spread across our nation during the current presidential campaign. There has been a search for a voice that is contrary to the sound of bigotry that has come from the likes of Donald Trump, Ben Carson and other Republican Presidential candidates.
On Wednesday, December 16th Democratic Party Presidential Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders participated in a town hall discussion led by Imam Talib Shareef at Masjid Muhammad, The Nation’s Mosque in Washington, DC. The town hall served as a forum to dispel the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has led to an uptick in attacks on Muslims in the United States and protests against mosques including a failed attempt of a protest at Masjid Muhammad in October of this year. Participating in the discussion was Congressman Keith Ellison – Democrat from Minnesota and is one of two Muslims serving in the House of Representatives, Reverend Reginald Green Interim Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and original Freedom Rider, Rabbi Batya Steinlauf of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and first Muslim chaplain for the United States Army, Chaplain Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad.
Sanders who is Jewish while participating in the interfaith dialogue asked if we should come together or should we allow demagogues to divide us. “It is time to say enough is enough. It is time to end religious bigotry. It is time to build a nation in which we all stand together; Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist all religions. And work to create a nation that benefits all of us.” Said Sanders, as he gave his remarks during the round table that lasted about 30 minutes.
Other Democratic Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have visited Muslim communities in the recent weeks following the attacks in Paris, France. The Muslim community looks forward to continuing the conversation around the country on these topics that matter deeply to many.