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the Message Continues ... 4/86



Newsletter for October 2008


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People of All Faiths Have an Interest in Justice

by Iftekhar Hai

Being a student of inter-religious studies has opened my mind to the wisdom of other religions.  

Unfortunately, not every one has had the same experience. 

Instead, there are people who go through life with preconceived views and ideas about other faiths. 

For them, there is nothing to learn.  Such an attitude becomes the cause of religious superiority.  It leads to racism and discrimination. 

However, if you are raised in the belief that all religions are equal and that everyone has equal rights to salvation depending on righteous actions, there can be hope for uniting diverse people. 

Early in my education about Islam, I was never told that there is only One Holy Language of God. 

But I learnt that righteousness was important, especially when it is linked to forming a just society. 

I translate that into societies working honestly with the structures of justice, where judges, witnesses, jury, defendants, the accusers and law enforcement play their roles. 

So the character of the people dispensing justice becomes very vital. 

They should be free from hatred, political and national agendas, religious affiliations, etc. 

They are the people we all should recommend for dispensing justice through the courts of law. 

Any ideal judge must be honest and not have (preconceived) hatred.  

An ideal witness must stand firmly for justice. 

An ideal jury can combine the qualities of being an ideal judge and witness and look at the evidence and the circumstances surrounding each crime. 

A jury should stick to the facts and never be influenced by the oratorical abilities of the lawyers. 

As a person opened to interfaith wisdom, I look at all faiths to understand the meaning of the word, “righteousness.” 

Christianity: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Judaism:  Justice, justice and justice you shall seek.

                     Thou shall not bear false witness. 

Buddhism: The Noble eight fold path: of right view, right conduct, right livelihood, right behavior, right thought, right speech, right effort and right concentration. 

Islam: Be just, this is closest to righteousness.  Never let hatred of others lead you to deviate from justice.

Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses even against yourselves, against your parents and against your children, against people who are rich or poor. 

American Indians: You must learn to speak righteousness so that your words may go as sun’s rays warming the hearts (satisfying) and confirming the eternal truth. 

Iftekhar Hai is president of the United Muslims of American Interfaith Alliance in South San Francisco.







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