The horror of 9/11 brought Muslim and Christian women of deep faith to the realization that while our respective faiths taught us to love our neighbors, we did not even know each other across the faiths! Therefore, on November of 2011, five women (three Muslim and two Christian clergywomen) gathered at Kirby Parlor of Perkins School of Theology – SMU to become acquainted. We instantly realized how much we needed each other and how much we shared as women professionals, mothers, faith leaders and American citizens! Instantly, we realized the power we had to combat the growing fear and hate in Dallas by bringing women together for conversation. We had the shadows of the recent hate crime murder against a Hindu Shamrock gasoline owner in Mesquite that resulted from the horror of 9/11 in our minds as we put together these monthly meetings. Our goal was simple: to build bridges that would lead to true friendships. We did this by sharing what our faith taught us about living and being in relationship with others. In our third year of meeting, we invited Jewish women to join our dialogue group. Ten years later, we have achieved that goal and much more. Deep friendships have emerged as we have walked alongside each other not only in our organized meetings but in weddings, births and deaths. We no longer formally meet as a group, but we remain friends — the bridges we built are holding. Many of the Muslim women in our dialogue group have now formed a non-profit to provide a counseling and shelter for Muslim women who are victims of domestic violence. One of the founders of this non-profit often says that finding friendship and safety in our women’s dialogue group gave her the courage to form this much needed service to our Dallas Muslim community. We were honored by the Dallas Peace Center with a peacemaker award! As a Christian, my faith teaches me that there is hope in a brighter, more just and compassionate future is possible even in the midst of great tragedy. As a nation, we suffered a great loss on 9/11, but we have also arisen out of the ashes to new life. For me, Christ’s resurrection from death is made tangible in the new friendships across the faiths that the women formed through this dialogue group. Fear and hate of each other have given way to peace and love.

This entry was posted in Faculty. Bookmark the permalink.