You are here

AAi High Schooler Risks Speech Competition to Build Bridges

Growing up in a post-9/11 America, Sierra heard many negative things about Muslims. “Looking at the news,” she said, “I saw all the dangers, and people being killed. It was frightening.” But when she was 11 years old, her parents began bringing her to AAi compassion events and her view of Muslims quickly changed. During the first event she attended in Gilroy, Sierra buddied up with a Muslim girl of similar age named Noor. 

“We just clicked,” Sierra said. “I remember telling each other a lot of jokes ... and, of course, we enjoyed serving [a meal to] poor neighbors together.”

That opened the door for Sierra to see Muslims as people, even incredibly kind people who were nothing at all like she’d heard.

In addition to her personal experiences at several AAi compassion events, Sierra credits AAi’s seminar, Loving Muslim Neighbors, with removing numerous misconceptions about Muslims and Islam that are popular among Christians, and with illuminating the immense common ground shared.

Bullies Threaten Emerging AAi Co-leader in New Jersey

In 2017, a Muslim child enjoyed an unforgettable experience alongside Jewish and Christian volunteers preparing and serving a hot meal to the homeless. Today, Musa* still remembers almost every minute of that amazing day when his mosque, West Valley Muslim Association, collaborated with Saratoga Federated Church and Congregation Beth David to feed the hungry in San Jose, Calif. 

This event made a lasting impact on Musa’s understanding of how humanity can work together to alleviate poverty. It was no naive dream. He witnessed it firsthand and had a marvelous time. It gave him hope that despite a growing climate of anti-Muslim hostilities, many were happy to work with him and his community. So after his family moved to New Jersey, he contacted AAi in search of a remote volunteer opportunity. Now a high school freshman, Musa began curating AAi event photos with excellence.

The Holy Exhilaration of AAi Compassion

As our compassion event planning meeting ends at the synagogue, the rabbi smiles and says to all gathered, “Every time I leave these meetings together, I’m high for about two days—completely energized! I’m not kidding! Meeting with you all gets me high!” Then the rabbi pauses, frowns, and says rather sadly, “But you know, when I leave meetings from my own community, it’s not always that way.”

I am astounded not only by the rabbi’s transparency, but also by his vulnerability to reveal something so deeply personal after collaborating in compassion with the others for only a few months. After a brief moment of silence, the mosque president says emphatically, “Same here.” Then the church pastor quickly admits, “Me too.” Whoa.

Something awesome happens when Jews, Christians, and Muslims unite to serve our neighbors in need. I have searched long and hard for a word to describe it, and I’ve listened to hundreds like the rabbi comment on the exhilaration they experience. Exhilaration is defined as a feeling of excitement, happiness, or elation. Its synonyms include joy, delight, jubilation, even ecstasy—a term used by cultural anthropologists to describe ecstatic religious experiences, and slang for a drug used to “get high.”

Social scientists have identified three components that produce happiness and joy. Ironically, money is not one of them. If you are living in poverty without food and shelter, then yes, enough money to pay for basic needs will lead to an increase in happiness. However, once basic needs are met, an increase in wealth does not correspondingly lead to an increase in happiness. Instead, social scientists state that happiness comes from being:

Solidarity Stand With Muslims

Our souls grieve after tragic news of shootings at New Zealand mosques Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Islamic Center. We mourn for the victims and weep with families of the faithful whose worship was ended by heinous violence. As stated in the Holy Qur’an, we will not speak of those slain in the way of God that they are dead. Nay, they are living, but we perceive it not (Surat al-Baqarah 2:154). As leaders around the world issue statements condemning both these barbarous acts and media that breeds a climate of fear mongering and Islamophobia, Abrahamic Alliance International is being flooded with condolence letters from Jewish and Christian communities who have delighted to build new friendships with Muslims while collaborating in compassion. Today’s violence reminds us of the urgency of our work to confront prejudice and counter the hate that has infected many hearts and minds with fatal consequences. AAi calls on all far and wide to show our solidarity with Muslim communities on Friday, March 22 during jumu'ah prayers. Whether you go alone to hold a placard of support, or join others to encircle mosques locking hands in a ring of protection, AAi calls on all to show their solidarity with Muslims at your nearest mosque on Friday, March 22.


Solidarity Shabbat

Our hearts break with the news of the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We weep for the victims and mourn with their families after the tragic anti-Semitic violence on Shabbat. Our Abrahamic Alliance has always stood in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters amidst countless stereotypes, untruths, and hatred that darkens the minds and souls of all who malign Jews because of ethnicity or religion. AAi treasures every opportunity to obliterate the stereotypes and fears that lead to hatred and violence against all Jews, whether in a context of compassion or an educational seminar. Saturday's violence reminds us of the urgency of our work to confront the prejudice and counter the hate that has infected countless hearts and minds in one way or another. Partner with AAi to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing in our world.

White Supremacy: A Rosetta Stone of Terrorism

Americans are stunned by the hatred, ignorance, and violence displayed by a motley assembly of white supremacists protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. The “Unite the Right” rally claimed to have come in protest of plans to sell a park statue of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee. Fully outfitted for street fighting with helmets, shields, and weapons, they marched with a different agenda. Friday evening, they carried burning torches while chanting, “Jews will not replace us. You will not replace us. Blood and soil.

ISIS Crisis: Jewish and Christian Response

ISIS has shocked the world with horrific acts of brutality so inhumane and “unIslamic” that even Al-Qaeda has disavowed all links with them. Last September, more than 120 prominent Muslim leaders and scholars of Islamic law from around the world sent a letter to Al-Baghdadi, chief leader of ISIS, in which they condemned many ISIS teachings and practices as “forbidden in Islam”. The letter, signed by Egypt’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Shawqi Allam (the highest official of Islamic law among Sunni Muslims in Egypt, the most populous country of the Middle East) refers to the “Islamic State” in quotation marks only. Egypt’s Grand Mufti told CNN in February that “everything ISIS does is far away from Islam. What it is doing is a crime by all means.” Dar al-Ifta, the prestigious Islamic law school that Sheikh Allam oversees, even launched a campaign asking journalists not to call ISIS an “Islamic State”, suggesting “al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria” or QSIS instead to

Egyptian Muslims and Jews Can Teach Christians to Praise God Continually

Photo When I moved to Egypt to study Arabic in 2004, I was amazed how often Muslims there said alhamdulillah (i.e., praise God). When I asked friends “How are you?”, they replied alhamdulillah (praise God). When I congratulated Mahmoud’s children for their high marks in school, they replied alhamdulillah. Even when Haala cut her hand deeply with a sharp kitchen knife, she repeated steadily alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, as we worked to stop the bleeding. To my amazement, she was genuinely thankful, mindful her

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer