The city of Los Angeles celebrated its first ever Religious Pluralism Day on April 21, 2015. City Council member Mitch O’Farrell introduced the formal resolution for the day, and Mitchell Englander seconded it.
The Religious Pluralism Day came out of a City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission convening of faith and civic leaders to reaffirm the resiliency of our local communities in the face of extremism. The committee encouraged a collective collaboration to counter hate and strengthen the fabric of our society. Members drafted the below joint statement affirming our core pluralistic values.
Watch the video about LA’s Religious Pluralism Day:
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Standing Together for Religious Pluralism
The Human Relations Commission joins together with civic, community and faith leaders to affirm our shared, cherished values—liberty, equality, unity in diversity and the sanctity of life. We are alarmed by the rise of extremism and violence that target the core of pluralistic ideals and civil society, and touch so many in our own communities.
We condemn with full resolve:
- Mass murder, torture, and expulsion of religious and ethnic groups throughout regions in strife with war and sectarianism;
- Serious violations of human dignity and oppressive conditions violating the sanctity of life across the globe;
- All forms of bigotry, violence and persecution, along with other divisive ideologies of hate that perpetuate violence and fear of the Other.
We affirm with full resolve to:
- Stand with those who are persecuted and against those who spout evil ideology, bigotry or hatred, whether the victim or culprit be Jew, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, a person of any faith, or no faith affiliation.
- Stand with locally impacted communities that are struggling with crises that detrimentally impact their coreligionists and families.
- Work for anyone harmed and against anyone who harms, regardless of their background is the essence of justice, as justice is what binds us together.
- Celebrate our unity and shared compassion for our fellow human beings by honoring and respecting diverse beliefs and practices.
We pledge to work together to build bridges of understanding to create a shining light in Los Angeles that can be emulated throughout our nation and throughout the world. United in the name of God as brothers and sisters of faith, we pray for the wisdom and courage to transform despair into hope, conflict into peace, and darkness into light.
Members of the advisory committee that contributed to drafting of the statement and planning for this effort:
Joumana Silyan-Saba, Human Relations Commission Senior Policy Analyst (Chair)
Mark Rothman, Human Relations Commission Commissioner (Co-Chair)
Salam Al Marayati, Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs
Rabbi Mark Diamond, Academy for Jewish Religion California
Rabbi Jim Kaufman, Temple Beth Hillel
Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR
Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, American Jewish University
Robert Smith, Chairmen of the B’naih David-Judea Muslim-Jewish Dialogue
Imam Jihad Turk, President of Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School
Aziza Hassan, Executive Director NewGround: Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change
Brie Loskota, Managing Director – USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture
Right Rev. Fr. Alexei Smith, Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer of the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese
Fr. Gorgy Cyril, Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church