On Sept. 17, Muslim and Coptic Christian leaders stood shoulder to shoulder at Los Angeles City Hall, condemning both the hate of the anti-Muslim video,"Innocence of Muslims," and the violent reactions to the video. The imagery and prose were inspiring.
The following are some thoughts:
We stand here on the steps of this angelic City Hall, praying for God to bring His spirit of love to this city, to this nation and to the world. Our two communities, Coptic Christian and Muslim, have lived side by side for over a thousand years. And yet, we see turmoil here and abroad over a video that dishonors the honorable tenets of our two faiths.
With technology advancing, we grieve over how rapid misunderstandings can spread, both between and about our two communities. Thus, before our Creator and before the people of this great city, we vow to speak out against hate, the hate of a film that denigrates Islam and desecrates its Prophet.
Moreover, we speak out against the violence as a reaction to hate. Indeed, our faiths preach that only love and forgiveness are the proper responses to hate. Jesus and Muhammad were both persecuted, and their response to mockery and insult was simple: Work for peace. Their impact on human civilization was profound. So today, we remind ourselves, our communities and our nation the following:
The video is abhorrent and does not deserve the dignity of any response.
The producers and propagandists of this video speak only for themselves and not for any religion.
The reaction to this video should follow the traditions of Jesus and Muhammad -- love for humanity, forgiveness for the ignorant, and peace for our future generations.
The relationship between Coptic Christians and Muslims should continue to be based on cooperation and coexistence, in the United States and in Egypt.
Our convergence of faiths is to please God, and God is displeased when violence is instigated in His name. God is pleased when we are protectors of one another, when guests are welcomed and treated with hospitality, and when people work to serve humanity with mercy, compassion, and justice.
We believe in one God and we believe in one human family. Our belief is manifested through our actions. Our good work and good speech are the only legitimate response to hate.