October 13, 2016
Over the past decade, the Pacifica Institute has been a friend and partner to the San Francisco Interfaith Council (“SFIC”). The words and deeds of Pacifica Institute members have taught the SFIC a tremendous amount about the Islamic faith, the good that it represents, and the benefits it provides to our communities.
The SFIC seeks to bring people of different faiths together to celebrate our City’s rich, diverse spiritual and religious traditions, build understanding and serve our community. We count as our constituents our City’s 800 congregations, their respective judicatories, religious based academic and health-care institutions, as well as the faith based social service agencies that provide the social safety net for San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents.
Since coming to the greater Bay Area, members of the Pacifica Institute have reached out, welcomed and engaged the SFIC in the myriad dialogue-based, cultural and humanitarian programs of the organization. Those members have taken the time to invest in authentic interfaith relationships in our City and have been worthy ambassadors for their faith at civic and interfaith events and worship services. As a trusted interfaith partner, Pacifica Institute has a member serving on the SFIC Board of Directors who contributes in a critical way to our work. Pacifica Institute’s presence in our community has enriched civil discourse among peoples of different faiths in both good and challenging times.
Those SFIC board and staff who participated in a Pacifica Institute sponsored trip to Turkey in 2007 and 2008 witnessed faith in action firsthand. Through visits and briefings with humanitarian aid organiza-tions, schools, journalism guilds, law enforcement officials and others, Pacifica Institute showed us how the Hizmet values of social justice and partnership for the common good have spread through Turkish society. These powerful impressions were matched by the warm hospitality shown to our interfaith group by Turkish citizens who welcomed us into their homes.
For those of us who know, respect, and have strong personal and working relationships with our sisters and brothers from the Pacifica Institute, the recent events and political repercussions suffered by members of the Hizmet movement in Turkey have been very troubling. The SFIC stands with our Pacifica Institute friends during this difficult and unsettling time in Turkey, and we pray that our shared values of interfaith compassion and cooperation will prevail in that country.