On a crisp fall day last week, a large contingent of students, faculty and friends gathered at Benedictine University to hear an esteemed panel speak on the power of discourse among different faith traditions. Those convened by Dr. Ali Yurtsever, Muslim Faith Advisor, included Rabbi Michael Zedek,, the Rev. Dirk Ficca, Dr. Mohammad Kaiseruddin and Ranganathan Hemmige, with the discussion moderated by Dr. Phillip Hardy.
Over the course of the afternoon, several crucial proclamations were apparent and shared among each of the four traditions represented: that sacred scriptures command that all paths are to be respected; that the Creator made us into different nations that we could ‘know one another’; that we don’t have to see ‘eye to eye to walk shoulder by shoulder’; and, given that our holy texts were written as revolutionary calls to action, we were reminded that we are a prophetic people, charged with the care of ‘the other.’
After the formal panel discussion ended, the session opened to Q&A. Questions posed from the audience ranged from the differences between religious versus political tribalism; the role of economic dislocation in societal polarization and the fear of change.