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Muslim group in Dayton hosts interfaith event calling for end to Israel-Gaza conflict

A Sikh community member speaking to guests at the event on Dec. 17
Adriana Martinez-Smiley
A Sikh community member speaking to guests at the event on Dec. 17

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Dayton hosted an interfaith event Sunday called Voices for Peace at the Fazl-i-Umar Mosque in Dayton.

The community group invited faith leaders from various religions such as Sikhism, Christianity and Judaism to make collective calls for peace amidst the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The Ahmadiyya faith is a sect of Islam, and observes the phrase, “Love for all, hatred for none.”

Usama Rehman is the imam for the Dayton mosque. He said this event was to raise awareness about the worth of human life.

He wants to be clear this event wasn't to take sides.

At the end of day, the basic function of a human being should be, even if he doesn't believe in God, that we should love each other as human beings and put the differences to the side when things get this drastic and atrocious, Rehman said.

Since the conflict began on Oct. 7, almost 19,000 men, women and children have been killed in Gaza and nearly 1,200 people in Israel, according to official sources in Israel and Gaza.

Over 60 people attended this event, coming from groups such as the Greater Dayton Peace Coalition and the Dayton Women’s Interfaith Coalition.

Sister Jeanette Buehler, a local nun, was one of the speakers.

She said tragedies such as these shouldn't divide people because of their religious beliefs.

“Each of our faith traditions calls us to love and service, to give to one another. We are not powerless if we listen to those traditions and join hands and hearts together to bring about the world as (God) created it to be,” she said.

The global community of the Ahmadiyya faith held other Voices for Peace events in other cities and countries, such as Washington, D.C. and Canada, following the beginning of the conflict.

The event concluded with a collective prayer, where people were invited to pray based on whatever faith they observe for an end to the war.

Rehman said they may continue to hold similar events in the future, should the conflict continue.

Adriana Martinez-Smiley (she/they) is the Environment and Indigenous Affairs Reporter for WYSO. They grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in June 2023. Before joining WYSO, her work has been featured in NHPR, WBEZ and WTTW.

Email: amartinez-smiley@wyso.org
Cell phone: 937-342-2905