Cooperation trumps polarization

On caucus eve last week, leaders of several faiths announced a new effort to make common cause in the religious community and combat those who want to pit religions against each other.

At the Reno Islamic Center, it was announced that substantial funds have been committed by various religious groups to build a home in Reno through Habitat for Humanity while also building amity and joint cooperation among the faiths.

Habitat spokesperson Christine Price thanked the group for “help in welcoming home one more family,” a comment that was both literal and figurative.

Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer of Temple Beth Or and North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation said there is a local history of faiths closing around each other when one is under fire.

“As a clergy group we tend to work on promoting peace and unity in our community,” she said “In the past we have helped Sikhs who were being attacked in Reno and Christians who were being vandalized in Incline Village.”

Attacks on religions in this area have been a chronic problem. For instance, just 48 minutes into the New Year, the new century, and the new millennium on Jan. 31, 2001, three arsonists—one of them wearing a shirt bearing a cross—tried to torch Temple Emanu-El in Reno, the city’s oldest Jewish congregation.

“I see it as more of communities coming together to support Muslims,” said Buddhist Rev. Shelley Fisher at the Habitat announcement.

To make sure no one missed the message, a flyer announcing the event read, “In light of today’s political climate and national rhetoric, we are making a statement about our shared values in Northern Nevada: diversity, inclusion, and community.”

“It is important to counter the notion that America hates Muslims,” said Catholic diocesan spokesperson Rita Sloan.

The effort was organized in part by News & Review owner Jeff vonKaenel, who set up a similar initiative in Sacramento and is now working on others for urban areas around the nation. He said the ease with which churches and leaders joined in and committed funds surprised him. “They were like—‘Jeff, we love this idea.’ … So why should we not come together and build a hundred homes?” vonKaenel said. “A hundred homes, a hundred communities coming together.”

Imam Abdul Rahim Barghouthi said of the effort that “this is a blessing and it comes with responsibility. And that responsibility is to take care of one another.” He added, “I see Islam in America and I see America in Islam.”

A student named Ali Amoroso at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill wrote in 2011, “A noun serves as the subject of a sentence; a verb expresses the action of a sentence. So then why is the line between the two being blurred by transforming nouns into verbs by simply adding -ize at the end?”

In that connection, we offer this heading from a news release issued by the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: “Inspection of totalizing meters in the Humboldt River Basin will begin in April.”