Letter to the Editor

Recognizing differences

We, the USC Interfaith Council, are a group of students from many different religious backgrounds and traditions that come together weekly for interfaith dialogue and collaboration. As representatives of the rich religious diversity of our campus, we are committed to helping nurture a campus environment in which all students — of all religions and of none at all — feel safe and comfortable.

As we mourn the lives lost at Fort Hood,, we feel the need to express our concern about the nature of the media coverage and discussions surrounding the tragedy, which have largely focused on the Muslim faith of the shooter. This tone in the public discourse has affected our campus and national climate. We have become aware of recent incidents on campus in which our fellow Muslim students (and non-Muslims) have been taunted and hassled.

As a group committed to interfaith understanding and cooperation, we must affirm that religious discrimination is just as unacceptable as racism, sexism and homophobia, and we ask the USC community to live up to the ideals of our university and take a stand against religious discrimination and intolerance in any form.

No student should feel threatened or unsafe because of his or her appearance, clothing, ethnicity or religion.

When Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any other type of religious prejudice presents itself on our campus, it should not be the burden of the targeted group to defend itself, but the responsibility of the entire faith and campus community to stand together — Christian and Hindu, Muslim and Jew, Sikh and atheist, Baha’i and Buddhist — to denounce religious discrimination and violence and cultivate instead a campus atmosphere that fosters religious expression and interfaith collaboration.

Please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. at the United University Church for a multi-faith memorial service for the lives that were lost at Fort Hood.

The USC Interfaith council

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