Statements & Press Releases

Core Statements

Center for Interfaith Cooperation is about words. Words that express our humanity and help to define our relationship to the divine through our relationship with one another across a beautifully diverse religious landscape.  

Sacred texts and words of wisdom from all our faith traditions help to guide daily actions as well as inform thoughts about eternity. 

Our goal in producing statements is not only to seek common language and understanding regarding particular events, but also to illuminate the places where we have honest differences. CIC’s mission is to build empathy for other positions while further defining and challenging our individual convictions. 

We have never hesitated to stand in solidarity when any one of our faith communities is attacked. We all vigorously support an open pluralistic society where everyone feels free to worship as they choose or not to worship at all. Our challenges come when it when we approach social issues and the pursuit of equity in all we do. We pride ourselves in building trust across theological and ideological difference. 

Below are more statements from CIC and community partners. We hope that you join the conversation and bring your voice to the ongoing conversation. 

CIC Values Statement

The Board, Officers and Staff of Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) value and respect people. As a result, we appreciate diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, socioeconomic background, age, religious belief, and any other differences that have been used to divide people. We work to ensure that our membership represents the fullness of the community in which we are located. We are dedicated to diversity in our positions of leadership and in decision-making conversations.


CIC emphatically renounces occasions throughout history where faith and religion have been used to encourage and justify antisemitism, racism, white supremacy, war, discrimination, genocide, sexism, violence, poverty, and any other form of bigotry or oppression. CIC recognizes that these practices are antithetical to the teachings of all religious traditions. The Board, Officers, and Staff of CIC acknowledge their own conscious and unconscious biases that perpetuate injustice and commit themselves to continuous learning and actively pursuing behavior that demonstrates the intrinsic value of all people.


CIC is focused on education and service. It is not an advocacy organization and does not typically track or comment on legislation or lobby for political action at the local, national, or international level. However, CIC believes in seeking equity, diversity, and inclusion. We will collaborate with individuals, faith communities, and organizations that share its values and support interfaith initiatives that build relationships, support the vulnerable in our community, and create hospitable spaces for dialogue and service. CIC recognizes the wisdom, reflected in all religious traditions, of treating others as we would like to be treated.


CIC recognizes, respects, and celebrates the fact that each of the world’s faith traditions is unique and that many of the differences between those traditions are irreconcilable. However, CIC is also aware that there is commonality across all faith traditions that share a deep longing for a more peaceful, just, and verdant community, both in central Indiana and across the globe. The Board, Officers and Staff of CIC understand that differences in our religious traditions can make it challenging to find consensus, but we believe that there is strength in these differences. We do not seek to dictate specific policies for the governance of organizations and groups with which we are associated. However, we do commit to certain behaviors within CIC:

• We are actively working to eradicate racism and discrimination from our
organization, striving to vigilantly address macro and microaggressions.
• We strive to operate with transparency.
• We seek to listen actively and share openly.
• We are adaptable, understanding that change is integral to growth.
• We are dedicated to the wellness of our community, including our staff, board,
volunteers, and AmeriCorps members. We aim to provide a workplace that fosters
physical and mental health.
• We value hospitality. We extend invitations openly, and we strive to provide
accommodations where necessary to ensure equitable experiences.

Public Statement on the Abuse of a Sikh Student at Whiteland Community High School

Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Public Statement on the Abuse of a Sikh Student at Whiteland Community High School

February 28, 2022

Center for Interfaith Cooperation is appalled and saddened by the level of bigotry and abuse
that a young Sikh student was subjected to at his high school in Whiteland, Indiana. We, the
members of CIC’s board of directors, staff, and stakeholders, stand together in solidarity to
support the young man and his family during this deeply disturbing and unfortunate incident.
We understand that the root of this act is based in fear and ignorance. We stand together to
remind everyone that this does not represent our beloved state of Indiana. We are aware that
young people often strike out, make statements, and scuffle over seemingly small annoyances.
However, when these acts involve discrimination based on religious and ethnic identity, it
concerns us all.

First and foremost, we extend our sympathy and support to the student, his family, and the
larger Sikh community. Secondly, we stand together, representing ten beautifully diverse faith
communities in Central Indiana, and demand that we all do better. We are committed to work
together to support the Whiteland community to help educate and show that this is not
acceptable behavior, in Indiana or anywhere in this world.

CIC programs are designed to increase religious literacy, build empathy for folks from diverse
backgrounds, and encourage more conversations and engagement around faith.

We will reach out to our friends in Whiteland Community High School to share resources that
will help to bring healing and understanding during this very difficult situation.

Members of Center for Interfaith Cooperation encourage each of us to speak out when we hear
or see any hint of hate speech or threat of violence against our fellow citizens.

Public Statement on violent stand-off at Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas

Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Public Statement on violent stand-off at Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas

January 16, 2022

Center for Interfaith Cooperation is grateful that no innocent lives were lost because of the violent stand-off at Congregation Beth Israel yesterday in Colleyville, Texas. We echo the statement from Governor Gregg Abbot “Prayers answered, all hostages are out alive”, and we stand by the words of President Joe Biden who sent a message of “love and strength” to members of the synagogue, and to the Jewish community throughout the country, adding “but let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate- we will stand against antisemitism and against the rise of extremism in this country.”

Members of Center for Interfaith Cooperation stand in solidarity with our Jewish community.

We extend our appreciation to law enforcement and everyone who acted quickly to end this potentially tragic situation. We pledge to remain vigilant, to speak out when we hear anti-Semitic or hate-filled speech, and we will continue our work to strengthen relations across faith differences to create better understanding.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel appears to be a shining example of just that. Rabbi Cytron-Walker stands as an exemplary model of a faith leader who actively reaches out to learn about his neighbors, appreciate our differences, and create opportunities to build relationships.

Members of Center for Interfaith Cooperation encourage each of us to emulate this example by making an effort to learn about our neighbors and recognize the beautiful religious diversity in our community. We must also speak out when we hear or see any hint of hate speech or threat of violence against our fellow citizens.

 

 

Quotes from Rabbi Brett Krichiver and Imam Mikal Saahir on the violent stand-off at Congregation Beth Israel on January 15, 2022

 

In response to the violent stand-off at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Rabbi Brett Krichiver from Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation shared this Rabbinic Prayer:

Oseh shalom bimromav Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu. V’al kol Yisrael v’kol yoshvei teiveil. V’imru Amen.  

May God who makes peace in the heavens, make peace for us. For all the people of Israel, and all who dwell on earth. And let us say, Amen. 

Rabbi Krichiver is a former CIC Board Member

 

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In response to the attack on Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Imam Mikal Saahir from Nur-Allah Islamic Center shared this message from the Qur’an, Chapter 22 verse 40, about the responsibility to protect all houses of worship: Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause); for verily Allah is full of strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).

Imam Saahir is a founding CIC Board Member and 2018 Interfaith Ambassador of the Year.

 

 

Interfaith Stories - Maha Muzzafar

CIC is introducing a new initiative called Interfaith Stories to share more interfaith dialogues and experiences digitally. Meet our first interfaith storyteller: Maha!

Maha Muzaffar is a pharmacy student at Butler University. For a recent pharmacy rotation, she traveled to South Dakota to work on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is the tribal headquarters for the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

She offered a variety of care for tribal members, aiding outpatient care, vaccination clinics, the women’s health clinic, and the emergency department. Overall, Maha was surprised at the conditions in Pine Ridge and how limited food and resources were. She feels that Americans should be better educated about underserved communities in hopes of limiting the significant health disparities that exist in the United States.

Maha took time to connect with the Pine Ridge community and had conversations with members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She learned that religious and spiritual identity varied with some community members identifying as Christian and others identifying as non-religious but spiritual. One tribal member explained his belief that all humans are connected spiritually as well as connected with the Earth and respecting the planet helps to keep balance amongst everyone. Maha believes that interfaith and intercultural dialogues are important in building awareness and developing an understanding of those who are different from yourself.

“It’s so important to reach out and have conversations because that’s where you learn and grow. Making mistakes is all just part of the learning process. The best thing is to apologize. Then, commit yourself to learning from your misstep. Absorb and listen as much as you can.”

Before her work in Pine Ridge, Maha worked with a Butler University community clinic, which provides free care to those in need all around Indianapolis. She attributes her drive to work with underserved patient populations to her identity as a Muslim and a first-generation American. Her family moved to the United States from Pakistan when she was a year old. Maha is excited whenever she can use language to help provide care. She has used Urdu, which she learned from her parents, and Spanish, which she studied in school, to help keep patients informed.

Next semester, Maha will continue her studies in pharmacy and is excited to be working at Shalom Health Care Center in Indianapolis.

Article by Regan Koster

Hindu Festivals

 

Click the link below to learn more about the Hindu Festivals.

Hindu Festivals