"We need to join in solidarity with men and women of good will who are motivated by a diversity of religious and philosophical commitments."
15 December 2015
Dear Members of the University Community,
With great sadness I read last Saturday morning about the arson committed against the mosque of the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley in Southern California. As someone with reverence for all places of worship, I felt the attack was an act of violence against all faiths.
As Americans, we find ourselves in troubling and painful times. Events in San Bernardino have shaken us to the core. To scapegoat or isolate a particular group that some may deem guilty or suspect by association, will never bring us the peace we desire. Rather at this moment we need to join in solidarity with men and women of good will who are motivated by a diversity of religious and philosophical commitments.
At Santa Clara University we are privileged to have many Muslim brothers and sisters as faculty, staff, students, alumni, colleagues and friends. As president, I assure you of my commitment to stand with you, to honor you, to learn from you, and I call upon other members of our community to do likewise.
Fifty years ago this year, at the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI challenged the Catholic Church to realize that, in order to promote “unity and love among people, indeed among nations,” it must consider “what all have in common and what draws them to fellowship.” [Nostra Aetate,1.] This groundbreaking document, Nostra Aetate, notes the esteem with which the Church regards Muslims, as well as all other faiths. [Nostra Aetate, 3.]
In Berkeley, I am pleased to announce that the Jesuit School of Theology is sponsor to an initiative at the Graduate Theological Union called “In Solidarity against Islamophobia.” After the New Year I look forward to announcing programming at the Santa Clara campus that will address similar important themes.
In the meantime, I hope you have a blessed holiday.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.