MEDINA — Acceptance and remembrance were the goals at the “Remembering 9/11” interfaith service at the Uptown Park gazebo on Medina Square on Sunday afternoon.
The Medina Ministerial Association coordinated the service, which included speakers from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, as well as a military chaplain and Mayor Dennis Hanwell.
David Anderson, pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Medina, co-coordinated the event and said he thought it was important to bring multiple faiths together to remember the four plane crashes of Sept. 11, 2001, and the tragedy that ensued.
“We think it’s important to signal to the community the unity of these three faiths,” Anderson said. “Despite our diversity, we can get rid of our exclusiveness by being united in God.”
The representatives of each faith spoke about Sept. 11, 2001, from personal and religious perspectives.
Ihsan Ul Haque, a cardiologist and past president and longtime member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Society of Akron and Kent, represented Islam.
“It wasn’t until the Pentagon hit that it dawned on me we were under attack,” Ul Haque said.
Ul Haque said when he heard about the hijacked planes, he hoped the terrorists weren’t Muslim.
“We were labeled as the enemy,” he said. “Children suffered. We tried to explain our religion to fellow Americans, but sadly to say, we still haven’t been able to accomplish that task in 10 years.”
Ul Haque discussed how 9/11 changed his life, not only as an American, but as a Muslim, and how people’s opinions of his faith changed based on assumptions.
“I don’t like tolerance — I want them to move on to acceptance,” Ul Haque said. “When people tell me to go back to where I came from, I can only go as far as Cleveland.”
Hanwell said he thought it was helpful to hear different perspectives of 9/11 from different backgrounds.
“I think it’s important for people to hear his point that many Muslims in the country have been in the country for periods of time, some of them generations, and to dissuade some from the negative connotations people may associate with them,” Hanwell said.
Kerry King was a chaplain for the U.S. Army and had retired before the attacks.
“My job was to remind all of us that somehow we have to find a way out of the horror and pain that war and violence bring,” King said. “Whatever we call ourselves — Christian, Muslim, Jewish — it doesn’t matter.”
Contact Michelle Sprehe at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.