Monday, July 14, 2008

Islam: A Highway to Peace on the Map of Global Unity

Of the four billion people who died in the 20th century from all causes combined, 185,000,000 deaths were caused by other humans.
At 8.5 millions, murders exceed deaths related to natural disaster (including floods, earthquakes and volcanoes) by five millions.
These are scary odds. They get even scarier when one thinks that many of the 'manmade' deaths are the product of hate crimes.
Organizations around the world are working very hard in promoting education and tolerance, but many individuals are still light years away from understanding the spiritual link that connects us all beyond race, heritage and social standing.
A few days ago, I stood behind a young man wearing eastern garb while I waited in line at a local fast-food restaurant, and I noticed that a lot of the people around were focused on the black backpack on the young man’s shoulders. Although the line continued to move smoothly toward the cash register, low-level anxiety was almost tangible. A serial killer could have been standing there wearing a baseball cap - and he would have gone completely unnoticed - but the young man wearing a turban was looked upon like a circus animal.
Sadly, since the September 11 incident, anyone wearing eastern garments has been at risk of attracting unwanted attention in our country, even though the individuals responsible for the 9/11 atrocities were disguised as normal Americans, and they boarded our planes wearing regular slacks, dress shirts and NOT donning a turban.
Ignorance has certainly played a huge part in this process, but it is intolerable that so many people have been demonized and demoted to sub-human status because of their religious affiliations or fashion trends.
Religious conflicts and wars have claimed many lives throughout history, but it must be made clear that the people responsible for those deaths are not the good and honest believers; rather, they are a minority group of fanatics and radicals who have used religion to manipulate the masses and fit their personal evil purposes.
As the Dalai Lama passionately stated in his address to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, “it’s totally wrong and unfair to call Islam a violent religion”. http://www.newsobserver.com/2178/story/1140533.html
With events such as the Euro-Mediterranean Summit which took place this past weekend,
http://voanews.com/english/2008-07-13-voa13.cfm, worldwide leaders are hoping to promote understanding and peace, but it is up to individuals to understand that religions are paths to love, not hatred or destruction.
As children, we were taught that one bad apple does not necessarily spoil the whole basket, but as adults we conveniently choose to throw all the apples in the trash, regardless of the fact that many of them are good and perfectly healthy.
Islamic radicals are the exception, not the rule, of Islam, as much as Catholic Inquisitors or Christian Crusaders were not rightful representatives of the Christian creed.
As citizens of this country and inhabitants of this world, we need to take a hard look at the atrocities we personally commit when we simply judge good people because of their beliefs or appearance. Only by allowing ourselves to see the other paths leading to a common vision of peace and unconditional love, we will increase our chances of ever getting to our desired destination.

1 comment:

Kimber said...

This is all very very true Sandra, and well-put. I often like to discuss the term "jihad" with others. Jihad is not a holy war between the US and Iraq, or between Christians and Muslims... "jihad" is the holy battle inside of ourselves, it is very personal and very interior. The battle is between our higher nature (which wants us to live with peace, joy, love and service) and our lower nature (the ego, the selfish part of us that leads us into darkness)... we are constantly fighting this war inside ourselves, and that is what the Muslims call "jihad." In any case, most Americans have a very skewed and very wrong idea of Islam, and it is incredibly hard to educate or even persuade most adults into the truth of such matters. Most people just believe what they want to... also, have you seen the most recent cover of the New Yorker... it's one of the most upsetting and disappointing things I've seen in a while. I can't believe they printed this! check it out...http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/gawker/2008/07/original.jpg

I love you Sandra!