We have been fortunate in Olympia to live for many years in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect for all religions. Elsewhere in our nation, the climate appears to be shifting as clouds of intolerance, discrimination, and fears rise. As a Buddhist, I am troubled by hate mail sent to mosques and Islamic centers in parts of the U.S. due to the threat of a registry of Muslims. I remember with shame the plight of our Jewish neighbors, our history of slavery, our destruction of American Indian rights and cultures, the internment of Japanese-American citizens.
Across our religious traditions we share the common wisdom that hatred only begets further hatred and suffering. Our nation and our world depend on taking care of each other, irrespective of different faiths, cultures, and views. In his 1967 book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:
We are inevitably our brother's keeper because we are our brother's brother. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
The incoming U.S. administration is actively talking about a national registry for immigrants from Muslim majority countries. I want to assure our Muslim communities locally, that I will resist policies and actions that discriminate against Muslims, and I call on all faith traditions and communities to join in a moral resistance for the purpose of protecting all religious rights and freedoms. Muslims are our brothers and sisters. We stand together, open-handed and open-hearted.