Opinion: Why students should participate in Interfaith events

March 15 was a Friday — one of the holiest days out of the week for Muslims, as many religious events have taken place on that day. On this blessed day, Muslims go to the Mosque — their holy home of prayer — for the purpose of cleansing one’s heart and giving thanks to their God. March 15 is also the day that a supremacist decided to take the lives of 51 Muslims as they were in their mosque — a place they saw as their safe haven.

These 51 lives each held a story behind them. In those stories were their goals, dreams, ambitions and faith. These people were human beings. But on March 15, they were forced to take their last breath.

This inhumane terrorist attack is now being broadcasted globally, where many countries, communities and leaders are showing their support and condolences. Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, was especially devastated by the attack and took full action to make sure that it would not happen again. Within a five day period, she banned military style semi-automatic and assault rifles from New Zealand.

“Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the man who took them,” Arden said. “He may seek notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name.”

There is also ongoing support through the media, and countless students internationally are finding ways to get involved. Since the tragedy, there has been vigils conducted by student organizations on many campuses, including the University of Washington.

There has also been more vigils at Mosques, such as the vigil hosted by the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, where a staggering number of people from every community attended to express their empathy.

Just by the appearance of the crowd at these vigils, it shows that we are one, and that we are there for each other in time of need. This is important because the terrorist’s objective through his attack was to divide people — instead, this tragedy has united them even better than before.

This is the time to reflect what we — as the next generation — can do to be inclusive of all crowds. People learn through speaking with each other — not just watching the news, which can sometimes corrupt the image of a certain religious or ethnic group.

Students must view this tragedy as a sign that communities, despite differences, must be closer together to dissipate hatred. In this case, more students on campus need to interact more frequently with religious or ethnic led organizations to be able to create that strong diverse community that new incoming students in the future should see.

This may be through dual event planning together, participating in interfaith discussions about each other beliefs, and/or even sharing traditions and customs from the religion and ethnicity. By doing so, the students not only show that they are united, but it shows that the University truly values these types of bonds created by students.

This is absolutely necessary to meet the goal of combining students as a whole. We must set aside stereotypes and learn from unfortunate hate crimes.

As Dr Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Now is the time to create the moments we wish to see at the UWT campus. If you need any help contacting clubs, visit Dawgden where they have numerous unique RSO’s.

Keep a look out for events that help build bridges between students as well through our campuses event calendar!