A Report on Interfaith Iftar Celebrations over Zoom
Peace and Unity event organized by the American Muslims Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council over the Zoom on Sunday, April 26, 2020.
The speakers for this unique interfaith event were: Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Katie Porter, FBI Assistant Director Paul D Delacourt, Sheriff Don Barnes, Pakistani Hollywood actor Iqbal Theta, Afghan American actress Sitara Attaie, Pakistani actress Maria Wasti, Singer Jason Feddy,Talk show host Leslie Marshall, Sikh actor Charanjeet Singh, Imam Quazwini, Anila Ali, Rabbi Gersh, Pastor Ken Wyant, Rabbi Marcia Tilchin, Ahsan Khan and Zoroastrianism was represented by our Zarrir Bhandara.
The evening started with the AMMWEC President Anila Ali welcoming the distinguished guests. Everyone spoke for about 3 minutes about the importance of Unity and Peace in the present time. The following speech was delivered by Bhandara representing our religion:
Salamvalekum, Sholom, I bring you the greetings of peace and unity from the oldest revealed religion of the world- Zoroastrianism.
I thank the organizers the American Muslims, Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council, and Temple Bat Yahm for this iftar, interfaith meeting.
I’d like to begin with a few glimpses from our history. In 936 AD, when Zoroastrians fled their homeland- Persia- to seek asylum in India, the Indian king sent a bowl full of milk, indicating that his kingdom was full, and there was no place to accommodate the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian high priest poured sugar in the bowl of milk, and sent it back to the king, indicating that we will merge in your country maintaining our individuality -sweetness, and spread the same in your country, which the Zoroastrians did, and continue to do so.
Well-known Zoroastrians mentioned in the holy Quran and holy Bible are Dastur Diniyar, – Salman-e-Fars, as the most revered companion of prophet Mohammad – may be peace upon him (holy Quran chapter 16- paragraph 105).
The messiah or the Savior mentioned in the old testament- Zoroastrian king Cyrus- who helped our Jewish community to rebuild their temples, in Jerusalem 538 B.C. He also gave them the freedom to practice their own religion.
As many of our forefathers have demonstrated, peace begins with a loving understanding of ourselves and other human beings, human doings, all living beings including plants, animals, and all-natural resources.
Energy flows, where the attention goes. So, it is important to be conscious about what we think, speak, and do. Our individual actions affect us and affects the whole universe. That is why one of the main tenants of our religion includes Good thoughts, words, and deeds.
God can be seen and revealed in many different ways, which is why we have different religions. We believe that the religion we have taken birth in, is THE path, God has prescribed for us to attain our purest light and progress physically and spiritually.
We have different religions/different paths, but one goal. We are diverse, yet we need to be united. Just like in nature, everything is diverse yet works in synchronization.
Even within our religion, we have different beliefs, but we do not allow our differences to divide us, but to unify and strengthen us. Live and let live. Thereby, we will bring more peace, unity, harmony, love, and healing in the world. Just like the story of milk and sugar, we can spread the sweetness of peace, maintaining our own individuality in the ocean of humanity.