Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Spirituality shopping (London bombs)

So the bombers were British. Which doesn't entirely surprise me, but it's strange to think that people who have been through the same education system as me and live in my culture, have so much hatred inside them. I 'justified' terrorists actions as much as you can by telling myself that they were from far away and they had witnessed atrocities in their own country and that is why they were able to so gratuitously take away life. Are those who are actually affected by our government's foreign policies feeling this hatred towards us too? How many more people want to cause more tragedy? The hatred towards Muslims in this country has to stop or we will further alienate people who could do this in the future. We can blame Blair and Bush and all those others who decided that war would be the answer, but if terrorists are coming from within our country, ordinary citizens are not beyond making a difference by not further perpatuating divisions in our own society.

I remember my childhood street so vividly. We lived two doors down from a large family of Bangladeshis, who owned an Indian restaurant. They were amongst the most giving and friendly family I have ever met, and I remember how during Ramadan, my dad would observe it too, they would bring my dad HUGE plates full of every type of Indian food imaginable every evening. I haven't ever thought about the way my dad observed their religious festival, but I suppose it makes sense: he is not a Muslim, but he is equally not a Christian. We have a Christmas tree and share in those festivities with our friends, so he shared with our Muslim friends in the observance of Ramadan. It was a symbol of acceptance, and we all learnt to be accepting of this other religion that we hadn't known much about.

I'm not saying that we should all go out and not eat during the hours of sunlight, but, from Wikipedia:

During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to refrain from indulging in violence, anger, envy, greed, lust and backbiting, and are meant to get along with each other better than normal.

To me, this makes sense for everybody, all year around. Particularly now, particularly when we risk further alienating a large group of people. I know that what happened last Thursday was NOT the action of good Muslims, but I also know that for people to have been vulnerable to the message of terrorists, they MUST have been segregated, alienated, from our society in the first place.

& to draw a little from Christianity (another religion I am in no way affiliated with), the Dean of my university emailed everybody this prayer:

Peace Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, vision.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.


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