We must stand in sol­i­dar­ity with the Dar Al-Hi­jrah mosque

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

As a leader within the lo­cal in­ter­faith com­mu­nity, I was dis­mayed to read in the March 22 Metro ar­ti­cle “GOP slams Her­ring for hold­ing town hall meet­ing at mosque” about GOP de­mands that Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark R. Her­ring (D) apol­o­gize for meet­ing at the Dar Al-Hi­jrah Is­lamic Cen­ter in Falls Church. Re­li­gious lead­ers through­out the area have ex­ten­sive ties with Dar Al-Hi­jrah, and this com­mu­nity of 20,000 peace-lov­ing and law-abid­ing Vir­gini­ans has been in­volved in in­ter­faith and com­mu­nity ser­vice work for many decades and in­cludes board mem­bers of the In­ter­Faith Con­fer­ence of Metropoli­tan Wash­ing­ton. The IFC rep­re­sents 11 his­toric faiths and has en­cour­aged in­ter­faith co­op­er­a­tion in the D.C. area for 39 years.

Many faith lead­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers have vis­ited this mosque for decades, as have gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in­clud­ing con­gress­men, state and county of­fi­cials, and FBI and lo­cal law en­force­ment pro­fes­sion­als. The mosque’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives have joined gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and law en­force­ment pro­fes­sion­als in sol­i­dar­ity with the Jewish com­mu­nity to counter big­otry against Jewish com­mu­nity. Their mem­bers help those in need and pro­vide help to the home­less.

The mosque has con­demned ter­ror­ism, and its mem­bers are loyal Amer­i­cans. Our Mus­lim sis­ters and broth­ers must be en­gaged and not marginal­ized, as this is best for Vir­ginia and Amer­ica.

Rabbi Ger­ald Serotta, Wash­ing­ton The writer is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the In­ter­Faith Con­fer­ence of Metropoli­tan Wash­ing­ton.

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