By Razan Azzarkani, ONE Faith Outreach and Mobilization Intern
My internship with ONE started earlier this month in the most wonderful way!
Right away, I began working with ONE’s Faith department on Prayer for Everyone, a worldwide prayer action event that aims to unite people of all faiths for a common cause.
From September 24 to October 1, Prayer for Everyone is engaging faith-based communities to reflect and share the new Sustainable Development Goals just adopted by the United Nations. These 17 Global Goals will set the development agenda until 2030, aiming to end global poverty and fight injustice and inequality.
Prayer for Everyone operates under the belief that no matter what your religious affiliation is, the Global Goals are representative of the idea that we are all connected through our compassion for humanity.
As someone who studies global development, it’s exciting to see that the work being done around the world to impact people. As part of ONE, the idea that I am helping to work towards something that is bigger than me—than all of us—is awe-inspiring. As a person of faith, I am even more amazed at the reaction the Global Goals and Prayer for Everyone have received.
As a Muslim, I believe that whoever saves the life of one person, it will be as if he/she has saved the life of all Mankind (Quran 5:32). We believe that all life is sacred and that it is our duty to our fellow brothers and sisters to actively work in making the world a better place for all. We have been instructed by God to “stand out firmly for justice (Quran 4:135).”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that “the believer is not he who eats his fill while his neighbor is hungry.” In a world with more than enough food, wealth, and resources for all, nobody should ever have to suffer from lack of basic needs. In these notions, we are all connected through the shared values of justice, mercy, and equality for all.
I know it can be easy to write off something like Prayer for Everyone as an almost silly image of everybody standing in a circle, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya,” believing that just through prayer, we will be able to solve the world’s problem.
But it’s much more than that.
While they have sometimes been divided, religious groups have always been at the center of social change. When powerful groups of people come together for a cause that’s bigger than all of them, that’s when true change can happen.
I have been so inspired these past few days with Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., and I know many people in my faith community have been as well. You don’t need to share the same religious affiliation to be able to work together and create change. We are all united under the common belief that human dignity and equality for all is what drives our compassion for each other.
“We all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must meet one another doing good.”– Pope Francis