Monday, 23 November 2015
Goodbye to an Ismaili Muslim friend
Last night I attended a silent prayer vigil in San Antonio. We walked around in a large circle, holding candles and grieving for the violence and hatred that has torn apart lives in recent days in faraway places. There were rabbis and priests, imams, college students, children and old folks who tired after a few minutes of walking. One man who joined the vigil midway through was Bob Jaffer, a man who has served on the board of the interfaith education center at my church. An Ismaili Muslim, an immigrant, an entrepreneur, a big supporter of the Aga Khan foundation which does development work with people in poverty all around the world, Bob asked how everything was going at my church. He told me a story about armed Baptists who showed up at a friend's mosque in Irving Texas the day before, frightening members of the mosque. We hugged, and since we were really supposed to be walking in silence, I returned to quiet and Bob (always the extrovert) found a Jewish person he knew and started up another conversation with a big smile. I received an email today that Bob died this morning. Heart attack maybe? I don't know. But I know the US needs more, not fewer, people like Bob. We protect America's values by receiving with gratitude the gifts and energy and friendship he brought us.