His funeral had been a celebration of his life where world leaders and religious figures of different faiths came together in the spirit of peace, love and religious tolerance to honor the life of the world's most famous Muslim, Muhammad Ali, a man who loved his religion and dedicated himself to spreading its truths and many wisdoms.
Our father would be profoundly saddened and disappointed by the cowardice and heartless displays of inhumanity shown by the so-called Muslim gunman who took the lives of so many innocent people in the name of a religion which has as its very meaning: peace.
As much as my father loved his faith, he raised us to respect all religions and all people and to judge no one. He taught us that no man has the knowledge and understanding God has, and he often quoted one of his favorite Islamic sayings when teaching us this spiritual lesson. "If all the oceans were ink and all of the trees were pens, it still would not be enough to write the knowledge of God."
My father condemned no one, forgave everyone and always kept love in his heart.
"Hana," he'd say, "There is only one true religion, and that is the religion of the heart. God never named it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Man gave the titles, and that's what separates and divides us. My dream is to one day see a world that comes together to fight for one cause -- the human cause..."
Our wonderful father is admired, celebrated and respected for many reasons, and perhaps more than anything else, for his ability to keep love in his heart despite all the upheavals of life. Through the ups and downs, the prejudice and injustice, through trials and tribulations, he let his heart lead him.
He didn't allow himself to hate those of a certain race based on the acts of a few. He didn't judge an entire religion based on the deeds of a single group of extremists.
If my father were here today, he would stand before you humbled with a whisper and a prayer. He is no longer of this world, and no one can speak for him. But we can embrace his example and let the healing begin within. For it is especially during these times that we need to let our heart guide us.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members of those who lost their lives -- all of the brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. May your hearts remain unhardened by this senseless act, and may your spirits always thrive in the light of love and forgiveness.
God bless us all.