On Saturday, the ninth anniversary of 9/11, a large group of Berkeleyans representing many faiths, as well as atheists, gathered in Ohlone Park to read the Koran and make a peaceful stand against anti-Islam sentiment.
The event, organized by the Berkeley-based Jewish organization Or Hadash USA/Return to Daylight, was triggered by the threat made by Florida minister Terry Jones to burn a copy of the Koran, an act which provoked a nationwide media response, as well as a statement by President Obama, and which Jones subsequently canceled.
According to Lainey Feingold writing in Beyond Chron, the Berkeley gathering drew about 300 participants and was well organized. It was moderated by Robin Braverman and Joel Siegel of Or Hadash. Local Muslims chanted lines from the Koran while others read from the English translation.
Parallels were drawn between anti-Islam feelings and anti-Semitism and, writes Feingold, the event drew to a close with the saying of Kaddish, the Jewish prayer recited for the dead, and a singing, in both Arabic and Hebrew, of the classic Jewish peace song, “Od Yavo Shalom Aleynu” (“Peace Will Yet Come Upon Us.”)