The third annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas took place on November 20, 2017.

Mawlana Hazar Imam has spoken extensively about the necessity and impact of pluralism within the world we reside in today. At the inauguration of the restored Humayun’s Tomb’s Gardens in New Delhi, India, on April 15, 2003, he said: “Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for progress and development, it is vital to our existence.” Over the course of his 60 years as the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community, the emphasis upon uniting communities all over the world has been evident.

This perspective has also been conveyed to the Jamat, which has translated this concept into practice, initiating service ventures and civic engagement opportunities to work with other communities. Such was the case at the Third Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas on November 20, 2017. The service was attended by many individuals representing various groups within the area. From the Baha’i to the Jewish community and everyone in between, the service was marked by contributions by leaders and individuals representing their respective communities in this pluralistic service.

Faisal Momin, Honorary Secretary for the Ismaili Council for Southwestern USA, shared a portion of a speech made by Hazar Imam at Brown University in 2014, about the responsibilities and benefits of diversity within communities. The Imam had said:

"A pluralist commitment is rooted in the essential unity of the human race. Does the Holy Qur'an not say that mankind is descended from “a single soul?” In an increasingly cosmopolitan world, it is essential that we live by a “cosmopolitan ethic,” one that addresses the age-old need to balance the particular and the universal, to honor both human rights and social duties, to advance personal freedom and to accept human responsibility."

The Ismaili Muslim Choir shared a Hamd, or poem in praise of God, with those in attendance. The event was an embodiment of the beauty and power that pluralism wields in a community as diverse as this one. An attendee, Ziyyan Ali, reflected upon the event and felt that “this was a perfect opportunity to witness what a true melting pot of people was like.”