In a typical, non-pandemic year, The Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC hosts an Interfaith Iftar Dinner during Ramadan. But this is not a typical year. The world continues to grapple with the struggles of COVID-19, and religious communities everywhere are missing face-to-face opportunities for worship and fellowship. In this struggle, on Friday, April 30th the Embassy decided to host an Interfaith prayer service via Zoom and streamed to an audience on Facebook Live. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances, the “Interfaith Prayer for Peace and Harmony” set an example for religious leaders everywhere that religious tolerance is crucial to our collective wellbeing. The event was hosted by Ambassador Asad M. Khan, who began by discussing the Pakistani value of inclusivity, and set the tone of the service by saying that Pakistan is “firmly committed to promoting interfaith harmony and religious tolerance”. He stressed that while individuals seem divided along lines of culture and faith, religion can actually be a unifying force for good. Following his convocation, Father Don Rooney, a pastor at Saint Bernadette Catholic Church, said a prayer repeating the phrase “God hear us” and followed with hopes for a brighter future. Then Lee Bachu, the President of the Interfaith Council of Washington, D.C., chanted a Hindu mantra. Next, Rabbi Bruce Lustig of the Washington Hebrew Congregation shared a ‘shehecheyanu’ prayer, translating from Hebrew: “blessed are you god who allows us to reach this moment in time.” This moment in time is not without its challenges, but Rabbi Lustig brought the audience into the present moment with this prayer, reminding us all to be grateful. To honor God, he said, “let the oppressed go free.” From Masjid Muhammad, ‘The Nation’s Mosque’, Imam Dr. Talib M. Shareef recited from Qu’ran chapter, this time translating from Arabic and echoing the sentiments of collaboration and care for one another. In discussing the common roots of all humans, he reminded those tuning in that “we are one humanity”, and that regardless of religious beliefs, we all contain the “spirit of universal kinship”. Then to represent the Sikh community, Dr. Rajwant Singh spoke. “Everyone is equal in the eyes of our creator,” was his central message. He went even further to say that if you are not respecting equality, you are not practicing the true religion of Sikhism according to founder Guru Nanak. He referenced back to the Pakistani roots of Sikhism, and to the role that religion can play in uniting people. He was grateful that Pakistan has reached out to the community through Kartarpur and in other ways. The final religious leader to speak was Dr. Sovan Tun, who gave a Buddhist perspective on the importance of prayer, and hoped that all would be “filled with everlasting joy”. The service concluded with closing remarks delivered by the distinguished Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, widely acknowledged as a leading scholar on Islam and a pioneer in interfaith dialogue. In 2005 the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. hosted an unprecedented Evensong in his honor presided over by the Bishop of Washington. Ambassador Ahmed began by quoting Rabbi Hillel the Elder’s definition of Judaism: “treat others as you would like them to treat you. The rest is commentary”. His final words perfectly captured the sentiments of the Interfaith Prayer and illustrated the importance of empathy and solidarity regardless of religious differences. Differences in faith do not indicate differences in heart. His call to action resonated with those listening: “let us go out and share with others how we need to treat each other.” Upon seeing the event online, Mr Khalid Salam, a senior retired civil servant from Lahore, wrote to Ahmed:” Thanks for forwarding this clip Akbar…I personally found it very heartening/ uplifting as it represented all the major religions of the world and a common appeal by all the participants was for humanity to come together at this most difficult time, never before witnessed in living memory, for the good of humankind. Your remarks, I thought, were the perfect summing up,given with the usual warmth and I was particularly pleased that you mentioned Confucius in the closure which means all the major religions were covered.Wish the participants success in their endeavours to make our world a beautiful place full of love, tolerance, compassion and brotherhood. Amen.” COVID-19 has left us all social distancing and physically separated from each other. But beyond the pandemic, the world continues to be deeply divided along lines of religion and culture. Hate and violence are too often justified under the guise of religious or ethnic difference. From police brutality in United States to the plight of the minorities in Asia and Africa, the world is in desperate need of leaders who emphasize our similiarites rather than our differences. Religious leaders such as those featured in the prayer service and scholars such as Ambassador Ahmed are performing critical roles as bridge builders across philosophical divides and reminding us of our common roots amid the pandemic. All of the individuals that spoke impacted me through their own forms of worship that they so kindly shared, whether they be chanting mantras or reflecting through prayer. However, there was one line said during the event from Imam Talib Shareef that really struck me. He translated from the Qu’ran: “by the token of time through the ages, surely human beings are in a state of loss except for those who have faith and work together.” The world is filled to the brim with loss right now, some losses small and some full of seemingly insurmountable grief. This Interfaith Prayer showed the D.C. community and the global network of religious leaders that the most effective way to heal such great loss is with fellowship. Even when we are not physically with each other, our losses are lessened and our burdens lighter when we ‘have faith and work together’. Scarlett Stevens is a second-year student at American University’s School of International Service. She is from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Roanoke, Virginia, and is passionate about studying race, religion, and culture.