U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC on September 3, 2014 a ceremony in honor of Special Representative to Muslim Communities Shaarik Zafar (video underneath).
During the event, John Kerry said the following:
“Let me be really clear as a starting point for today’s conversation: The real face of Islam is not what we saw yesterday, when the world bore witness again to the unfathomable brutality of ISIL terrorist murderers, when we saw Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who left home in Florida in order to tell the story of brave people in the Middle East – we saw him brutally taken from us in an act of medieval savagery by a coward hiding behind a mask.”
John Kerry added:
“The face of Islam is not the nihilists who know only how to destroy [Referring to the ISIL terrorist organization], not to build. It’s not masked cowards whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate every single day with their barbarity and whose fundamental principles they insult with their actions.
“The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings. It’s one where Muslim communities are leading the fight against poverty. It’s one where Muslim communities are providing basic healthcare and emergency assistance on the front lines of some of our most devastating humanitarian crises. And it is one where Muslim communities are advocating for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the most basic freedom to practice one’s faith openly and freely. America’s faith communities, including American Muslims, are sources of strength for all of us. They’re an essential part of our national fabric, and we are committed to deepening our partnerships with them.
“When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law,” he replied: the first “you shall love the Lord your God” and second “you shall love your neighbor as yourself…In everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
“What prophets was Jesus talking about? He was talking about Moses, or Moshe, or Musa. He was talking about Abraham, or Avraham, or Ibrahim. And ultimately, he was talking about Shalom, Salam: Peace.
“As the Talmud says: In Roman times, a nonbeliever approached the famous rabbi, Rabbi Hillel, and challenged him to teach the meaning of the Torah while standing on one leg. Without missing a beat, holding up one foot, Hillel replied: “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to another. That is the whole of the Torah… the rest is commentary.”
“The Prophet Muhammad said of loving your brother, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”
“Buddhist scriptures teach us to “treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” And Hinduism proclaims, “This is the sum of duty: Do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Our faiths teach us that we are more than the sum of our differences. We share a moral obligation to treat one another with dignity and respect. And I am so proud that at the foundation of everything that this Department and that our foreign policy tries to do are those fundamental values.
“Today, we need to draw on that common faith and what must be our common hope to work for peace and put our universal commitments and universal beliefs into action. That’s the road ahead, and I am privileged to share that road with Shaarik and with all of you.
The Moroccan Times.