For anyone who believes that Islam is a violent religion, we need look no further than our own backyard to the leaders of the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center, Sajid Ghauri and Otoo Haarun, to see that’s not true.

Since their mosque’s desecration with racist and anti-Islam graffiti, they have repeatedly invited the person who did this damage into a relationship and forgiveness—essentially encircling him in love and calling him back to his highest self. While many differences in beliefs and practices exist among faith and secular traditions, cultivating forgiveness and love are largely universal:

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you. - Jesus, Christianity

Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the eternal rule. - Buddha, Buddhism


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Cultivate friendship and humanity, which will conquer the hearts of everyone. Look upon others as similar to yourself. - Jagadguru Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, Hinduism

Love is a little haven of refuge from the world. The best practical advice I can give is to practice the virtue of love. - Bertrand Russell, Atheism.

Do not hate the other in your heart, take vengeance, or bear a grudge. Love your neighbor as yourself. And love the stranger, the immigrant, as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. - Judaism

God has created his servants in order that they may love and associate with each other. - Baha’i Faith

Be kind to your parents, relatives, orphans, the destitute, your near and distant neighbors, your companions, and wayfarers. - Mohamed, Islam

May we all follow the wise and loving role models of Sajid Ghauri, Otoo Haaran, and our Muslim brothers and sisters. May we resist fueling the fires of hatred and instead pour out the healing waters of love and forgiveness.

Trish Tallakson is director of the FM Interfaith Center.