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Promoting Interfaith Dialogue as 9/11 Approaches

September 8, 2017

Salaam, Shalom, Peace.

Those three words continue to drive an interfaith coalition — started by Fr. Corey Brost, CSV — that draws teens and adults of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith traditions.

The Children of Abraham Coalition hosted its signature event, its seventh annual “9/11 Potluck for Peace” dinner on Wednesday and drew more than 200 guests — up more than 50 from the year before — to Querbes Hall at Saint Viator High School.

“I’m thrilled to see so many people here,” said senior Devon Sheehan, who is a member of COAC. “It gives me great hope that we can be agents of change in some small way.”

Fr. Corey Brost, left, with Steen Metz, first Courage of Abraham winner and members of the Sikh Community from Oak Creek, Wisc., this year’s winners

The coalition formed in 2011, in response to the growing religious-based bigotry on the rise after the tragedies of 9/11. Its stated mission is to educate others about different faiths as well as to be ambassadors for interfaith dialogue.

Their work in building relations between other religions — and advancing peace — is growing. Fr. Corey described the potluck dinner as a record turnout, up 25 percent from the year before, and that requests for the group to come and speak to different faith communities is growing.

But it was the young speakers — each representing a different faith — who inspired the crowd.

Sara Ahmed, 17, who is Muslim, told of attending the funeral of Muhammad Ali last year, and of how she viewed him as an agent of peace working to bring people together.

“Tonight gives me great hope,” Sara said, “when I see how many people want to learn about different faith traditions and work toward interfaith dialogue.”

Abbey Finn spoke of her Jewish faith, before describing her visit to the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York, on the exact day as the events that took place in Charlottesville, VA.

“Now more than ever we need to come together,” Abbey said. “We, the next generation need to create peace.”