Sen. Ben Cardin joins local Muslims ‘United Against Hate’

Muslims in the Baltimore region are encouraging open and honest conversation amid all the violence.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin attended a Baltimore mosque Sunday night and said it’s fitting that the United Against Hate event happened the day before Independence Day.

Mosque leaders said outreach events are working in the battle against Islamaphobia, but admit there’s a long way to go.

Cardin said Americans need to build more bridges to overcome hate.

“Demolition is very easy rather than construction. You can demolish a building in three seconds. It will take three years to build it. We understand that and we’re in it for the long game,” said Raheem Younus, president, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baltimore Chapter.

Cardin joined Baltimore’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community to recognize the holy month of Ramadan and unite against hate.

“On the eve of July 4th, the anniversary of our country, I’m here to express that all religions condemn the violence that we’ve seen and our values, our values of inclusion, our values of diversity that is what makes this country strong,” Cardin said.

Cardin said Muslim Americans are facing a more hostile and prejudiced atmosphere than our nation has seen in some time. He said Muslims and people of other faiths should get to know each other.

“When communities work together, we’re all safer. We all have a better way of dealing with the challenges that we face, so I think it’s in our interest, everyone’s interest for us to better understand each other,” Cardin said.

“We figured that the only way people can understand what the true Islam is like and what Muslims do is to invite them in and share food with them and share the positive message with them,” said Abdul Latif Bennett, outreach officer, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baltimore Chapter.

The program included a question and answer session. No topic was off limits, including jihad.

“Having been a U.S. Marine who served his country with his life and when someone questions my integrity and my faith and says, ‘You know, you’re not American enough,’ it bothers me because I’ve put so much of my life into it,” said Mansoor Shams, director of public affairs, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baltimore Chapter.

Mosque leaders said their doors are always open.

“I want them to know that a guy with brown skin, black beard, is not a terrorist. He’s your fellow neighbor, your friend,” Shams said.

After the question and answer session and Cardin’s keynote address everyone gathered for dinner. Mosque leaders said part of Ramadan is sharing a meal after fasting all day.

iRabwah| News Watch |
Source/Credit: WBAL TV