Visotzky brought in theologian Hussein Rashid ’96CC, who was exploring similar questions from a Muslim ethical standpoint. The scholars, who had spun off from a larger interfaith study group at Fordham Law School, decided to examine the issue of water as a way to focus their work, and for World Water Day 2017 they published a series of tracts around water-related themes. That got them invited to the Vatican to meet with the pope about Laudato si’.
“For me, reading the encyclical made me think of an eighth-century figure named Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq,” says Rashid, who teaches at the New School and UTS. “There’s a work attributed to him where he says for a believer there are four relationships that keep you in balance: to God, to yourself, to other people, and to the rest of creation. My understanding of what Pope Francis was doing really resonated with that.”