ISNA & MPAC Meet with the Iranian President
On Tuesday afternoon in New York a group of over 50 American Muslim leaders met with Dr. Hassan Rouhani, the newly elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Among the leaders present was Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America and Salam Al-Maryati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The leaders discussed areas of concern for American Muslims in particular, including the crisis in Syria and growing sectarian tensions worldwide.
Dr. Sayyid Syeed of ISNA opened the meeting speaking about the 50 years of successful Muslim American institution building that the leaders in the room represented. Syeed congratulated President Rouhani, and thanked him for his commitment to dialogue, while emphasizing the extensive interfaith and social justice activities of the Muslim American community.
Imam Magid and Al-Marayati spoke about the growing concern regarding atrocities in Syria, and raised the issue of Iran’s role in this turmoil. ISNA and MPAC delivered a letter to the Iranian president calling on him to work toward an end to the atrocities and conflict in Syria, and preparation for a post-Assad Syria. It stresses the need for leadership to promote sectarian unity globally to counter divisions and violence that is on the rise.
In addition to the four points related to Syria, the letter also calls for a legal process to be clearly outlined for the release of political prisoners in Iran, such as Amir Hekmati, an American Marine who has been held in Iran for over two years.
SEE: LINK TO LETTER
Regarding sectarian violence, the Muslim leadership at the meeting spoke about the need for cooperation and a commitment to work together under the tenets of MPAC’s “Intra-faith Code of Honor,” and ISNA’s recent “Washington Declaration For the Protection of Nations and Societies from the Menace of Sectarian Violence.”
Since the initiation of these two documents, ISNA and MPAC have worked to bring leaders from American Shia and Sunni organizations together in a series of meetings to sign the “Code of Honor”, agree upon the tenets of the “The Washington Declaration”, and strategize on intra-faith relations.
At Tuesday’s meeting, President Rouhani responded to the discussion by referring to the challenges posed by faith being part of the public square and debate. There are those who oppose religion, and there are those within religion that attempt to radicalize it, he said. He mentioned both radicalization and foreign intervention as key challenges in the Middle East.
ISNA is an association of Muslim organizations and individuals that provides a common platform for presenting Islam, supporting Muslim communities, developing educational, social and outreach programs and fostering good relations with other religious communities, and civic and service organizations.