A letter shared Friday night that was written by Reza Nekumanesh of the Islamic Cultural Center and Minister Bryson White of Saints Rest Missionary Baptist Church and signed by other leaders of Faith in Community
To our Muslim friends and neighbors, and the city of Fresno at large,
The hateful rhetoric being spewed in our country about and towards Muslims these past few weeks is deeply disturbing. It is disturbing both because the hateful rhetoric towards Muslims is being led by a Presidential hopeful for the United States, and because locally these sentiments are striking a cord within our Fresno community. A local poll shows that as many as 60 percent of Fresnans agree with this rhetoric.
However, the spirit of our nation as well as the religious leadership who works for justice for all members of our society, stand together unified in a shared common humanity against the prejudice and ignorance of those misguided segments of our population.
As such, we, the Clergy leadership of Faith in Community, stand united with our Muslim neighbors. We would like to share an excerpt from the recent “Open Letter to American Muslims from Evangelical Leaders in PICO (the National Organization as to which Faith in Community is a chapter).” It reads:
“To our Muslim brothers and sisters: We see you. You are our friends, our coworkers, and our allies in building a better country where every person is valued. It hurts us that your membership in this country is being questioned. And so we are reaching out to express solidarity with you during this difficult time.”
It is un-American and unjust to deny anyone right to become a productive and dedicated member of our nation and society. It is the call and duty of the religious leadership to defend the rights of all those who wish to proudly call this nation their home, as the Muslim-American population has done.
To our Muslim friends and neighbors: We stand with you as we would stand for ourselves. We stand for justice no matter how unpopular. We stand for dignity no matter how some work to strip others from it. We stand for truth no matter who it is being told to. We stand together, regardless of religious, racial, ethnic, political leaning, or any other dedication that may seem to separate us. We stand for those who cannot stand and we speak for those who do not have their voices heard. We stand because it is the right thing to do. We stand as brothers and sisters in creation and uphold the command for “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk with humility …” (Micah 6:8)
It is our prayer, that those in the city of Fresno who hold prejudicial views of all types, allow for the creator to change their hearts, minds, and spirits. We pray for a renewed sense of sisterhood and brotherhood, where we love those who are different than us, and become radically committed to one another through bond of love. We also pray, that those who are committed to creating a just society where all members are equally valued lift their voices and stand with those who are excluded and in pain.
Pastor BT Lewis, Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church
Rabbi Rick Winer, Temple Beth Israel
Reza Nekumanesh, Islamic Cultural Center
Pastor DJ Criner, Saints Rest Baptist Church
Pastor Chris Breedlove, Community United Church of Christ
Pastor Natalie Chamberlain, First Congregational UCC Tulare, Disciples of Christ Visalia
Pastor Carl Jones, West Fresno Ministerial Alliance
Father Arturo Gramaje, Saint Anthony Mary Claret
Pastor Sophia Dewitt, First Congregational Church
Pastor Emeritus Steve Ratzlaff, Mennonite Community Church Minister
Minister Bryson White, Saints Rest Missionary Baptist Church