Campus faith leaders shared advice for coping with tragedy Monday night as part of the GW “Peace Not Prejudice” Week. Chaplain Meraj Allahrakha , Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth, and Father Greg Shaffer shared their views in a forum sponsored by the GW Muslim Student Association. The lecture held at Funger Hall was attending by about 25 peopleof different religions. Members of Muslim Student Association, GW Hillel and Newman Catholic Student Center participated in the panel discussion.
Each leader shared examples from recent tragedies. During the discussion, Father Greg remembered the Newtown, Conn. school shooting of last year.
”We have to cope through tragedy,faith richness and to gather together. We are dealing with mystery,” said Shaffer.
Kaiser-Blueth talked about his rememberance of Hurricane Katrina and how people dealt with the tragedy that moment, a time during which he was working at New York University.
”Why did God allow the Holocaust to happen? Why would something like this happen?”he said.
Responding to an audience question on coping with disaster, Allahrakha said, ”It’s easy to say when you are not suffering the tragedy.People are not punished collectively. There is a lesson in every tragedy.”
Participants lauded the event for connecting the different religious organizations on campus around the common theme of hope. President of the Muslim Student Association Aabid Mohiuddin reflected on the event as bringing the campus community together with relatable experiences, particularly difficult events.
Regardless of religion, according to participants, everyone experience grief and tragedy. However, a shared desire for healing lies in faith.
“I believe that when faith shines, people who believe in faith and see the circumstances, come out through that situations stronger than they were before, ” saidMohiuddin.
Each leader stressed the importance of uniting to find comfort and hope through faith.
”Just hope. Each person has a faith,” said Shaffer.