By Arun Kumar
Washington–Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Indian American entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam offered Americans of all faiths the mantra of “creeds, seeds and deeds” to heal after one of America’s most divisive presidential elections.
Mahatma Gandhi told us, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” he recalled receiving the prestigious Interfaith Leadership Award here Sunday from a group bringing together eleven historic faith communities.
“I try to live my life in accordance with Gandhi’s advice and to practice what I preach,” said Islam who grew up in a religious family in India.
Created in 1978, the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC) to promote dialogue, understanding and a sense of community includes the Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Jewish, Sikh and Zoroastrian communities.
Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin presented the award to Islam for his support of interfaith dialogue and education and his many contributions to the arts and higher education.
“We must continue to fight for a fairer and stronger America. We are stronger together. And, together, we can help shape a better future,” he said. “We can do that through our creeds, through our seeds, and through our deeds.
“Being a Muslim has taught me many things – but the most important is that the whole purpose of religion is to provide justice and a path to justice for all of us,” Islam said of his creed.
“Our seeds are support to institutions that provide “students access to presentations by leading experts in areas such as international affairs, arts, politics, and economics and educates, informs and helps to shape those students,” he said. “It plants seeds.”
“Our creeds and our seeds lead to our deeds,” said Islam who serves on the Advisory Board of the US Institute of Peace, an organization devoted to the nonviolent prevention and mitigation of deadly conflict around the world.
“The concepts of creeds, seeds and deeds are not new to you. In fact, they are the bedrock of your existence and the essence of your being,” he said.