Promoting religious tolerance in New York
A month ago I wrote about the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the inspiring work of PrepareNY to turn that potentially dangerous milestone into a fruitful, productive time of togetherness. I am proud to report that just as the difficult issues of prejudice and misunderstanding are ongoing, multi-layered and long-term, so too is PrepareNY’s approach. Their initiative will continue in full force throughout the year.
Last night I attended another of their events, a discussion with Moustafa Bayoumi, author of 'How does it feel to be a problem? Being young and Arab in America' sponsored by the 9/11 Community for Common Ground Initiative.
Over the course of evening I heard seven stories of young Arab Americans, including a young woman named Rasha, whose family was arrested and detained for three months with no explanation following 9/11 because of their Syrian heritage.
The group, which was made up of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, was united in empathy for her and outrage at the state-level prejudice that certain groups face in this country.
We all listened deeply and attentively as Moustafa and Rasha painted a picture for us of the myriad challenges of being a young Arab in America today.
Hannah and I are working to put on our own PrepareNY event this fall, which we hope will give people an opportunity to learn about Sikhism and bring the Sikh and non-Sikh communities of New York together for an evening of open-hearted learning.