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Eastern Washington Legislative Conference Reflections

Muslim community leaders lend insights to mobilize people to act

Rasheed Bellamy and Admir Rasic of the Muslim community in Spokane open conference with reflections on these times.

To talk to people with different beliefs can be difficult, said Admir Rasic, a Muslim refugee from Bosnia, who co-led the opening prayer and reflections for the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference (EWLC) on Jan. 27.

To demonstrate the difficulty, he read the poem “Refugees,” by Brian Folsum, twice—reversing some wording to reinterpret it.

“They have no need of our help so do not tell me these haggard faces would belong to you if life had dealt a different hand.” He later it read as: “If life had dealt a different hand, these haggard faces would belong to you or me.”

Admir listed stereotypes of refugees some use to say they are not welcome, and said, “We should see people for who they are,” and not only welcome them, but also share “our food, our homes and our country.”

One version said not to see refugees and immigrants as “just like us,” but the other said to see them as “just like us.”

While one version concluded not to think that the world can be looked at in another way, the other concluded that “the world can be looked at in another way.”

Admir said the system too often leaves the vulnerable behind. 

“I pray we can put aside our disagreements, using reason and thoughtful dialogue,” he said.

Rasheed Bellamy, technology supervisor with Spokane Public Schools and a member of the Muslim community, read from the Koran in Arabic and then in English: “O Mankind, I created you from a single pair of a male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may get to know one another.  Surely the noblest of you in the sights of Allah is he who is righteous.  Allah is the all knowledge and the all aware.”

Rasheed prayed tht these verses would ring true not only during the conference but also in the ears of leaders locally, nationally and globally.

“I pray that our different traditions, cultures, races and beliefs do not continue to rip us apart, but are used as a glue to hold us together as the human race.  We must stop judging others who do not look like or act like we do,” he said, noting that the traditions present in the conference have examples of harmonious societies, such as the prophet Mohammed setting up the city of Medina as a place where Jews, Christians and Muslims could live safely and have equal rights.

He prayed that the Creator of Heavens and Earth would “continue to guide us, shower us with blessings of hope and inclusiveness to overshadow hate with love and understanding, and guide us in our discussions that we may organize and mobilize our communities to take a stand in the political arena, in a social discourse or just in our families for the betterment of all human beings,” Rasheed said.

The full poem and other content from the EWLC will be in video online at thefigtree.org related to stories.

Link to the video online

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