Interfaith Speakers Share Wisdom at Augsburg

Trin Whitesel, contributor
Interfaith leaders gather at Augsburg’s virtual event, “Neighbors Together in a Divided Nation,” to share their expertise; the speakers are: Rev. Mark Hanson, Farhan Latif, Imam Makram El-Amin, Professor Lori Brandt Hale, Rabbi Arielle LeKach-Rosenberg, Athena Estime, and Christian Nelson, screenshots provided by Danny Reinan.

Augsburg’s Interfaith program hosted a virtual panel on Jan. 26 that invited religious leaders to gather and share their knowledge on faith.

The panel was mediated by Faron Latif, director of the El-Hibri Foundation in Washington DC, and was composed of three religious leaders from differing faiths, who spoke on their view of neighborhood and how to unite our nation during a time of great divide.

“You do not have faith if you go to bed as your neighbor is fearful of your hand or your tongue,” said religious and community leader Imam Makram El-Amin, quoting from the Prophet Muhammed.

El-Amin was the first panelist speaker. For over two decades, El-Amin has focused on providing food insecurity relief, affordable housing, career services and mentoring. El-Amin defined a neighbor as someone within 40 doors in any direction, regardless of their beliefs.

Panelist Rabbi Arielle LeKach-Rosenberg’s focus was on activism and a deep relationship with music and prayer.

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” quoted LeKach-Rosenberg. “When you love your neighbor as yourself, it creates a space to look through the other person’s perspective, ultimately preventing unfair treatment or prejudice.”

At the end of the event, two student respondents had a few minutes to give a reflection. The first student was Athena Estime, third-year Phillips scholar, interfaith scholar and marketing officer for the Pan-Afrikan Student Union. Estime emphasized the value of unity that the panelists brought to the discussion. The second student was Christian Nelson, a fourth-year sociology major and cultural social justice minor, who thanked the panelists for providing a dialogue to the Augsburg community.