SECOND ANNUAL “REFLECTIONS ON HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE”
TO BE PRESENTED AT THE DALLAS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM WILL CULMINATE IN INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE
DALLAS (January 14, 2009), The Dallas Holocaust Museum/ Center for Education and Tolerance, and The World Muslim Congress For Peace are collaborating on an event with the support of The Memnosyne Foundation, The Dallas Peace Center and The Foundation for Pluralism, to encourage Dallas’ diverse community to join in a unified commemoration of the Holocaust and other genocides that have or are occurring around the world. The event, titled, “Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides” will be occurring on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 5 until 7:15 pm at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 N. Record Street, Suite #100, Dallas, TX 75202-3361.
The event will include speakers, prayers, and the partial viewing of a documentary. The keynote speech will be delivered by Bryan Mark Rigg, Ph.D., historian and author. The goal of the event is to create awareness of the inhumanity in all of us, and discover and create solutions for peaceful co-existence. An incredible work of art designed by artist Nancy Rebal and composer James Neel will capture the voices of all Dallasites present which will be delivered directly from Texas to the people of Rwanda on the 15th anniversary of the genocide that occurred there. Leaders from around the world will join others in Kagali on February 13th to memorialize the victims, and the first words heard will be the voices championing peace, tolerance and understanding from Dallas besides those of other leaders, such as Desmond Tutu.
This event will also be uniquely significant in that an Imam has been invited to participate in an event and has accepted the invitation to do so in the Holocaust Museum in behalf of The World Muslim Congress for Peace. It is the hope of all involved organizations that this exchange will be one of the first small steps towards healing tensions between Dallas’ own Jewish and Muslim communities. Imam Zia Shaikh, an Islamic Scholar and past supporter of local interfaith gatherings, will serve as moderator. He gains his inspiration to participate in this unique event from the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything you do." Mike Ghouse, Chairperson of the event continues, “Our Mission is to work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards justice and equity to attain peace for humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values. We cannot have advantages at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world, and vice versa, to sustain it.”
“The mission of the Foundation for Pluralism is to encourage individuals to accept the otherness of other, and develop an open mind and an open heart toward their fellow beings. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.” adds Ghouse.
Elliott Dlin, Executive Director of the Dallas Holocaust Museum hopes that this event will promote greater tolerance. “We recognize,” he said, “that we do not fully agree with each other on all issues. But tolerance does not require that we fully endorse each other’s beliefs or practices. It does, however, require us to recognize and respect each other’s rights to legitimate differences without interference. We are standing together and raising our collective voices in order to learn from the past, to mend our troubled world, and to help to build a better, more hopeful, future.”
Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk a Dallas leader and President/Co-Founder of The Memnosyne Foundation which is a major sponsor of the event adds, “This event has the potential to turn a local community gathering commemorating the Holocaust into a symbol that can help heal others beyond our own borders. The Jewish and Muslim community leaders who stepped forward to make this collaboration happen have made the courageous choice to walk their talk. It will be their unified voice that prays for peace, tolerance and non-violence which will be delivered to the genocide survivors in Rwanda. For it’s not enough that we challenge others to cross barriers towards creating a more peaceful world, we must also challenge ourselves to become living demonstrations of the world we dream of for our grandchildren. That is why the symbolism of this event is so vitally important.”
“I hope that both the Jewish and Muslim communities will come out and support these remarkable leaders who have moved from just reading about offering olive branches in their sacred texts towards extending the olive branches of discussion and collaboration for their shared values of tolerance and nonviolence. As a native Dallasite, I am tremendously grateful that our community benefits from visionaries such as Mike Ghouse, Elliot Dlin and Imam Zia who refuse to permit ignorance to degrade into bigotry.” adds Thompson-Frenk who set up The Memnosyne Foundation to help the diverse people of the world consciously encourage an evolution for themselves and for future generations by providing mankind with the means to encourage positive, peaceful global collaboration in all areas of knowledge.
Admission is free, open to the public and seating is limited. Guests may R.S.V.P. at ConfirmAttendance@gmail.com The event is being underwritten by The Memnosyne Foundation and supported by The Dallas Holocaust Museum, World Muslim Congress, Dallas Peace Center, The Foundation for Pluralism, Today Marks the Beginning and the Universal Peace Federation.
Further information may be obtained by calling
Mike Ghouse at 214-325-1916
or visiting www.HolocaustandGenocides.org