The annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, an annual nondenominational gathering, has been held. 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty was joined Thursday by Eman Beshtawii, the Director of Community Services and Outreach Programs at an Islamic Center in Newtown.
The 64th Annual National Prayer Breakfast brought together over 3,200 people of faith from all 50 states and over 140 countries.
Esty first met Beshtawii at an interfaith ceremony in December at a vigil honoring the victims of Sandy Hook. She approached Esty with concerns she and her family face as Muslim-Americans following an increase in religiously and racially charged comments and actions. Esty says it's all sparked by fear and misinformation.
Beshtawii said she accepted the invitation to highlight all of the good that has come to the Muslim community at the Hedaya Center. One of their goals is building bridges and relationships with the people of the community, region, and state. She says much of the fear and hate in the Islamophobia that Muslim American communities experience is a result of the absence of these relationships.
Beshtawii has a husband and four children, and is a member of the Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association. She is also the co-founder of the Newtown "Peace Builder" initiative to engage the youth in the community.