In Response to Terror: An Open Letter to Parisians & The Terrorists

Dear Parisians & Terrorists,

Parisians, as I watch the terror that has unfolded in your city, know that your city is now my city. Your pain, horror, shock and mourning, is now mine also. For what is done to you, my brothers and sisters, is also done to me. As minister to an interfaith community, I can say with great confidence that I, as well as many in my community, stand with you in the full pursuit of right action that leads to accountability and justice. Your fight is now our fight for it is a fight for the restoration of peace and tolerance among peoples – a tolerance that strives to celebrate sameness across cultures and faith traditions while forging the difficult, challenging, yet critically essential, path to respecting and honoring difference.

We are largely a people of the pen, not the sword. We seek non-violence as our instinctive default. We recognize the power in harnessing forces for justice, as was seen in India with Gandhi and in our country with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as opposed to fighting against, creating the real possibility of becoming that which we would destroy. But, make no mistake, if it becomes required of us to stand next to you in fighting evil at our doorsteps, we will not shy away. We will examine closely what is arising in our own hearts as we rise up in strong and clear pursuit of the restoration of justice. And, by God’s grace, we will choose, if need be, to die with you, by the sword of Truth.

To my brothers and sisters – yes you – the ones perpetrating evil, should you come upon this letter, know that we do not seek personal revenge. And, we refrain, as best we can, from judgment for it is our belief that God alone brings judicial sentencing. It is why we are told in the Bible, Galatians 6:7, we will reap what we have sown. Or, in the Qur’an, we are reminded: Indeed the death that you flee will indeed encounter you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the sensible and the Unseen, and He will inform you about what you used to do. al-Jumu’ah: 62:8. So, while you may expect reward in heaven, instead, we believe you will first find yourself purged of all the terror you have perpetrated. The fear and horror you have caused others to feel, you will then, yourselves, come to feel. It is the only way God’s law may bring healing grace and compassion to all where evil once prevailed. Such is the birthright of all of us, being one with one another, in this heart of God in which we live.

Still, while you continue to cast a shadow of death upon our world, I assure you we will fear no evil for we know the great Shepherd guides our way. With His rod and staff, we will defend the helpless and seek to forge a new day of reckoning in the hearts of all peoples.

And, to all who may hear…
We will continue our interfaith work igniting a light in the midst of the darkest night. We will stand for the Truth that sets us all free from hatred and evil.
We will not fear death…as much as living a fearful life.
We will stand for goodness and mercy and continue to pray that, one day…

We all may dwell in the House of the Lord forever.


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4 responses to “In Response to Terror: An Open Letter to Parisians & The Terrorists

  1. Bea Testa

    Well said and most beautifully written.
    May God continue to Bless you and
    all that you stand for. Much love from my heart to yours. 💚 Bea

    • Stephanie

      Hi Bea, how wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for joining the conversation…Many blessings for a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday!

  2. Ahjan

    Thank you, Stephanie for so firmly placing your staff on this earth. You remind us, as Buddhism teaches;

    “No brahmin is a brahmin by birth.
    No outcaste is an outcaste by birth.
    An outcaste is an outcaste by his deeds.
    A brahmin is a brahmin by his deeds.”

    May we each be accountable to our own compassion and deeds.
    Love to you

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