Q&A with Ahmed J. Quereshi | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Q&A with Ahmed J. Quereshi

For our Standing Up Against Hate special section this month, we connected with a few local organizations serving diverse communities.  

Ahmed Quereshi talks about his organization’s interfaith role: 

Chronicle: What is your role and your organization’s role? 

Ahmed Quereshi: I was recently appointed as the executive director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee on April 27, after having served in an interim capacity since last September. I was one of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee’s representatives to the Conference since the Islamic Society was first admitted as a member more than 20 years ago, shortly after 9/11. Formed in 1970, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee is a regional organization of more than 20 religious denominations and faith-based organizations committed to interfaith engagement and cooperation. In addition to convening religious leaders, it seeks to build relationships among people of faith to promote greater understanding, dignity, and respect, and to advocate for the inclusion and acceptance of all. We help the broader community address critical issues affecting our common life, particularly racism, inequity, violence and degradation of the environment. 

Is there any message you have for the Jewish community? Can inter-community relationships help fight hate and how? 

The Interfaith Conference stands unequivocally against antisemitism, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, or any other forms of racial, ethnic or religious bigotry. Unfortunately, the past year has seen a dramatic rise in antisemitism, including in Wisconsin where residents in Kenosha, Racine and Oak Creek found antisemitic white supremacist material in sandwich bags in their driveways and porches. Antisemitism, along with other similar attempts to spread hatred and fear of the other, is a growing problem in our nation that must be addressed by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds. The Conference issued statements, participated in interfaith rallies, and met with our political leaders in 2022. While we are a long way from achieving our goal, we must not grow discouraged in our efforts against hate. Our different faith communities must continue to come together to lead, not only through our words, but by our actions to fight hate and violence. 

Are there projects you are working on that the public can participate in? How can people learn more? 

The Interfaith Conference runs a number of programs, which you can explore at our website: InterfaithConference.org.   

As we return to in-person events after the Covid pandemic, our flagship grassroots program, Amazing Faith Dinners, is going to be re-started. You can read more about that program online. In the coming months, we will be scheduling dinners at various places of worship around the Greater Milwaukee area, as well as for our younger adults at area universities. I would ask that, when those events come to your neighborhood, place of worship, or university, you consider attending an event and then becoming involved in other interfaith activities. It is only by persons of goodwill getting to know one another and then by speaking out that hate, fear and prejudice can be overcome. 

* * *

Serving diverse communities  

For our Standing Up Against Hate special section this month, we connected with a few local organizations serving diverse communities.