Learn Pray Blog is the official blog of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Our goal is to create a space where Virginians can promote the faith voice on issues such as poverty & the working poor, at-risk children & youth, Caring for God’s Creation and others.
RICHMOND, Va. - The weekend was filled with events that marked the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 - some involving community service, others simply remembering and honoring the victims.
Doug Smith has been the president of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy for the last eight years, and as he leaves his position, he asks that Virginians remember to be united, and not let the acts of a few extremists divide them. He adds that the flames of intolerance and anti-Muslim sentiment have been fanned by some elements of the media.
"Pop culture continues to confuse extremism with religion; you shouldn't be fearful of your Muslim neighbor, you should simply be aware that there are extremists, in the Christian community, in the Jewish community, in every community of faith and non-faith."
Smith says that in Virginia people are getting outside of their homes to connect with one another.
"And they begin to engage with one another in ways that we haven't seen in fifty years, since the real collapse of neighborhoods. They're beginning to understand that there is a common value, a common American value, that speaks to our strength being much greater when we are together, even overcoming those that are trying to separate us by mischaracterizations of communities."
Smith says there is a tremendous amount of hope and dedication in all corners of the Commonwealth to make sure we are building communities and not allowing hate and bias to separate us. He has enjoyed his work with interfaith communities and multi-faith communities all over Virginia. His next position will be at the Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier. Charles Swadley steps in as Virginia Interfaith's interim CEO.
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