Aurora, Colorado: March 15th.
Multicultural Mosaic Foundation organized on Sunday, March 15th, 2015 an interfaith panel discussion on respect for the sacred. The panelists were Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Reverend Paul Kottke, Imam Abdur-rahim Ali, and Attorney Dan Recht who discussed the recent events in Europe and the U.S from religious and secular perspectives. The moderator was Reverend Amanda Henderson. A diverse audience of about a 90 people attended the panel and the preceding dinner with a taste of Turkish food.
The religious leaders’ statements indeed showed the audience that the approaches of the Abrahamic religions to the issue are not very different from each other. They emphasized that regardless of which religion the disrespectful acts are against, the religious leaders have the responsibility to condemn such acts openly. Also, the panelists stated that congregations should demand such reactions from their leaders.
Further, the panelists pointed out that respect for other religions’ members need to be taught in the places of worship, and that religious leaders need to pay attention to this deficit.
On the other hand, prominent lawyer Dan Recht approached the topic from freedom of speech and constitutional rights perspective. Recht stated that the state’s intervention in press is not constitutional in the U.S, and highlighted the importance of peaceful and coordinated reactions coming from religious congregations against offensive acts to their beliefs.