As a Jew who grew up in a community in New York state that viewed its demographic growth and emerging diversity—including an increasing number of Jews—with suspicion, I have watched the conversation around the proposed Al Salam Center with interest and growing concern. My Jewish values call upon me to be welcoming of my neighbors and to support them, especially when they are viewed with the same distrustful lens that has been and continues to be applied to my own community.
My family and I were drawn to Carmel when we moved to central Indiana two years ago, largely because of what we saw as the strong community and institutional fabric, made stronger by diversity, that supports and sustains our city. I am saddened and disappointed by attempts made to sow doubt, misunderstanding and fear using conspiratorial and hateful techniques against any subset of our city’s residents because of differences in religion, ethnicity, race, language, culture or otherwise.
To those neighbors of the future center who are concerned about traffic and noise, I do want to allay your concerns. We live down the street from three churches. Except for bells which chime on the hour and the occasional difficult left turn on Sundays, I appreciate their presence and the sense of fulfillment and community they provide my Christian neighbors.
Our Muslim neighbors have contributed much to our world, our nation and our city. Supporting a place that they can call their own and on which to build a presence and community will only make our city a better place and contribute to our broader sense of salam (Arabic) and shalom (Hebrew): peace and wholeness.
Jeremy Price, Carmel