The Words I Wish I'd Said
Many people have written far more eloquent and well thought out pieces in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon than I'm able to. What follows isn't ground breaking social or political commentary but I hope that it might be a positive response for anyone facing difficult questions about their beliefs in light of recent events.
I recently observed a conversation among several individuals who were venting steam about all the things they loathed about Islam, muslims and extremists (with each term being used interchangeably) and explaining how Islam was a source of great evil in the world and that Jesus (pbuh) was the only way to Salvation. Not wishing to get involved, I read their comments from a distance and reflected on them afterwards. And, I'm sure you've all experienced this sensation, here are the words which I wish I'd said at the time:
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I have a great love and respect for Jesus (pbuh) which was nurtured when I was a Christian and continues to grow and develop now as a Muslim. When Jesus said that he was 'The Way' I believe that he was right. If you follow his teachings about being fair to others, loving your neighbour (always the hardest to love) and showing compassion, then I believe you're on the right path. Just as Jesus showed compassion to the Samaritan woman (who was despised for her religion, race and misdemeanors) he demonstrated that we have a responsibility to each other as human beings which transcends arbitrary labels.
Every religion has parts of their religious texts which are hard to digest or which seem extreme. We instinctively veer away from them and there are many topics which we avoid putting into the Sunday morning sermon or Friday prayer for that very reason. Instead of worrying about these, it's important for us to foster positive relationships between each other, to focus on the peace which faith brings and to show compassion to others regardless of their religion or race because those are the values which shine out of the Torah, the Bible and the Koran and transcend any unsubstantiated call for violence or hatred.
So over to you!
How do you respond to negative views of your faith?
How should we foster positive relationships between members of different faiths?
Have you read any posts or articles would might be helpful to others?
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For more in depth social commentary and personal responses, check out:
- Recent Tragedies in Boston - A Quranic Perspective by Nouman Ali Khan
- Djibouti Jones: Mogadishu and Boston Bombings
- Mark Wilson at Techno Babble: Muslim Scum? Not in my name!