PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Through song, prayer, and a moment of silence, dozens of people from different faiths, and backgrounds came together to honor the 3000 Americans who died on September 11th and reflect on the progress that’s been made since.
“There are days we feel wonderful, because look at this, look at the beautiful diverse community here, so this is a hopeful day,” said Founding Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice Foundation Samina Sundas. “That’s what inspires me to do this work, this is very hard work bringing that many people together.”READ MORE: Fmr. Pinole Police Officer Allegedly Videotaped Himself Having Sex With Minor
Sundas said she knows there’s more work that needs to be done in America to break religious tensions.
“All we hear about is Taliban, Taliban, Taliban, and 1.5 billion Muslims are not talked about, so it’s painful because there are 1.5 billion Muslims, who are law abiding, wonderful, peaceful, practicing Muslims,” said Sundas.
There were people from different generations in attendance. Some were not even born when the tragedy happened.
12-year-old Naiel Chaudry of Los Altos has been coming to the event since he was 5 years old. He says 9/11 taught him to be proud to be Muslim.READ MORE: UPDATE: Woman Accused of Starting Fawn Fire Was Boiling Bear Urine to Drink
“Probably what I learned the most from that day was after, not even being born then, but I know that a – for the survivors – they never lost hope, they kept on going. And b, to just speak up for yourself, raise awareness,” he said.
US Army Signals Intelligence veteran E’Jaaz Ali said the military has made great strides.
“We now have an imam as a chapel who is a lieutenant colonel and Muslims can now grow their beard with a waiver,” he said. “It’s something when I was in about 10, 11 years ago, I didn’t think was actually possible.”
The terrorist attacks also prompted Eric Sabelman of Menlo Park to get involved in his community. Today, he still is.
“After 9/11, I was really looking for something that commanded my commitment and Multifaith Voices had just begun at that time, so I joined the steering committee,” he said.MORE NEWS: SF Police Arrest 2 Men Who Allegedly Shot Woman Who Refused To Give Them Her Camera
Organizers encouraged the audience to make new friendships with people outside their faith and community to build more understanding and celebrate diversity.