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America's Common Ground

Common Ground America
National Advisory Board


Ralph Neas – President and Chief Executive Officer, Generic Pharmaceutical Association; former head of the National Coalition on Health Care; former Chairman, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; former President, People for the American Way

Grover Norquist – President, Americans for Tax Reform


Mohammed Abu-Nimer – Professor, American University's School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution in Washington, DC; Director, Center for Peacebuilding and Development

Aisha Al-Adawiya – Founder and Executive Director, Women in Islam

Asma Afsaruddin – Chair and Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures and Adjunct Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University

Salman Ahmad – Pakistani-American leader, musician and founder of Junoon, South Asia's biggest rock band; Professor,  Queens College (CUNY)

Gerald Carmen – former US Ambassador, the United Nations in Geneva; former Administrator, General Services Administration

Lorne Craner – President, International Republican Institute; former Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), US Department of State

Robert Edgar – President & CEO, Common Cause; former General Secretary, National Council of Churches; former member of Congress, (D-PA)

Mickey Edwards – former member of Congress (R-OK); former head of the American Conservative Union

John Esposito – Professor, Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University; Founding Director, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University

Joel Hunter – Senior Pastor, Northland, A Church Distributed; member, President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Sherman Jackson – King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

David Keene – President, the National Rifle Association; former Chairman, American Conservative Union

Daisy Khan – Executive Director, American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA)

Imam Mohamed Magid – President, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

Dalia Mogahed – Executive Director, the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; Member, President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Eboo Patel – Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC); Member, the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Greg Roberts – CEO, Greater DC Cares; former President & CEO, the Muhammad Ali Center

Rabbi David Saperstein – Director, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Former Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Nina Shea – Director, Center for Religious Freedom and Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; Commissioner, US Commission on International Religious Freedom

Ken Wollack – President, National Democratic Institute

Jim Zogby – Founder and President, the Arab American Institute; Author, Arab Voices; Senior Analyst, Zogby International Polling

In recognition of increasing Islamophobia, threats to religious freedom and other forms of intolerance in the United States, Partners in Humanity's America's Common Ground project aims to shift the current paradigm to one of common respect for religious tolerance and liberty.

To launch this effort, Search for Common Ground has created a short video based on a series of interviews with civic and thought leaders from a diverse range of political and religious affiliations.

Meet some of the prominent Americans speaking out on this topic:

Ralph G. Neas, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Healthcare

I have a friend who I partner with on occasion with the name of Grover Norquist. And we disagree on just about everything, especially the role of government and how much government can do with and for the people of the United States, but what we have total unanimity on is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform

If you focus on the totality of your own faith and other people's faiths, you realize how much you share. If you take one or two issues where you disagree, and focus on that, it leads in a different direction, but the fuller and deeper your understanding of your own religion, and of other people's faiths, the more you see things in common.

Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor at Northland, a Church Distributed

For a Christian, common ground is really holy ground, because Christians say that we are to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. Well that's not possible unless you know one another, unless you talk with one another, unless you work together on common projects.

Jessica Oleon, Rabbi at Mount Sinai

It is a really important part of what I try to do as a faith leader in my community to be a window so that we are better aware, and we are in more relationships, and we are having better conversations with our friends and neighbors and strangers – fellow citizens who understand God in a different way than we do but are just using different words and different language and different rituals to try to get to the same values and ultimately to the same place.

Bob Edgar, President of Common Cause

The best sermons I've ever heard preached are the ones that are lived, not spoken. We need more non-verbal sermons, particularly in this area: the touch of a child who happens to be of a different faith, the willingness to reach out and help each other when there is prejudice or racism, or religious racism. Those are acts of prophetic nature.

Nina Shea, Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute

If you don't have the freedom to believe what you want to believe in your heart, than really you have no other freedom.