Different faiths come together to commemorate Sept. 11
WTOP'S Thomas Warren reports
WASHINGTON - Days before the nation commemorates the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, members of various religions gathered at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Sunday for the ninth annual 9-11 Unity Walk to honor the victims.
This year's walk also called for religious understanding.
"It's a day for people of all different faiths to put aside their differences come together and learn about the other," says Kyle Poole, founder of the unity walk.
A video was shown during the opening ceremony at the Congregation in the District, which included a tribute to Nelson Mandela.
The day's events also included other activities. Volunteers prepared trail mix for the homeless and helped bag 4,000 bags of potatoes to donate to the D.C. Central Kitchen and Capital Food Bank. Members of the Capital Area Interfaith Friends made get-well cards for former South African President Nelson Mandela, who has battled a recurring lung infection.
At two o'clock, a procession of walkers made their way through Embassy Row along Massachusetts Avenue, making stops at worship houses along the way.
Hakim Abdul, who is Muslim, feels that despite what he calls negative propaganda spread by the media, ideas about various religions have evolved in the years since Sept. 11.
"Sometimes people are hard to change, but I believe we are past it. People in America are open-minded, and independently thinking," Abdul says.
It was Janet Schiffer's first time participating in the walk. Before the opening ceremony, she sat in the Congregation's Information Hall and took in the experience.
"It's nice to come into an atmosphere where you see so many people of different faiths who are greeting each other, and are at peace with each other. That actually gives me some hope that what we see out there with religious strife is really politically driven, and can be changed," says Schiffer, who is a practicing Methodist.
She sat talking with Rukmini Walker, who practices a form of Hinduism known as Vaishnavism. Walker expressed similar sentiments.
"The more I love God and love my neighbor as myself, and I put that energy out into the world, the more I do that and the more other people do that, it creates an undertow in the other direction," Walker says.
The day's events ends with a program at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial statue on Massachusetts Avenue and 21st Street N.W. at 4:15 p.m.
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