By Nidah Chatriwala
Partnering For Peace was a program encouraged by President Obama for schools to participate in an interfaith worship in remembrance of 9/11 and ASU was one of them to accept.
The service was held at Tempe campus of ASU, attracting a large diverse crowd, which sung along the chorus or stood silently in respect to religious recitations performed.
The event began with Sue Ringler introducing TEAM-Tempe Interfaith, who organized the service, saying their mission used to be limited to collecting and donating canned foods but 9/11 changed everything, and they began giving hope through service of love in the community.
Partnering for Peace was also represented by a group of young adults called iMagine, who shared their goal of breaking down interfaith barriers to help teach each other the richness of diversity.
Soon the chorus sang â€œWhere Can I Turn for Peaceâ€ on a candlelit stage with an enlarged photograph of a glittering white dove, represented peace in the background.
The audience was encouraged to stand in silence as the three Holy Scriptures: Bible, Torah and the Holy Quranâ€™s title covers were displayed on the screen, followed by each person reciting excerpts from them.
Rabbi Dean Shapiro read Isaiah from the Torah, then Pastor Chris Gonzales read Luke from the New Testament and Ayman Alhadheri recited verses from the Quran, which were translated by Elena Coassolo.
To help the interfaith audience understand the meanings of the holy recitations, three speakers shared stories of peace from their Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions.
Susan Schanerman performed her Jewish tradition story called â€œA Talmudic Tale of Peaceâ€ as she created pictures with her hands and directed audienceâ€™s mood to various tones of her voice.
Following Schanermanâ€™s performance, Doug Bland connected his Christian tradition story of â€œThe Saint and the Sultanâ€ to the Muslim influence of building Christianity and extracting the greeting â€œpeace be upon youâ€ from Muslims to saying it among Christian followers as well. He credited Islamâ€™s teachings, especially to be more merciful to each other, to improving Christianityâ€™s message among its followers.
To build on Blandâ€™s story, Saiaf Abdallah told the â€œMusa and the Good Things to Comeâ€ Islamic story about Moses and Khidrâ€™s journey of seeking knowledge through patience. At the end of the story he added that we must learn to see wisdom in atrocities such as 9/11 that united us all.
As the event came to a close, iMagine group members painted a rainbow representing Jewish, Christian and Muslim unity, as the audience stood up arm-in-arm chanting freedom and peace.