samedi, juillet 13, 2013

When we don't hear when we choose not to listen

Over the past year, I've had the chance to speak with a few area Muslims, or practitioners of the Islamic faith.

I must admit that I'm embarrassed by my prior ignorance about this ancient faith, one of three "Abrahamic" religions.

I write about religion on a regular basis. I should know better, know more by now.

While there aren't that many Muslims in the United States, there are many millions around the world.  But our American stereotypes about many of them aren't just odd -- they can be actively harmful. It doesn't take much to fan the flames of Islamaphobia in America.

Yes, there are some Muslims bent on hurting Americans, and American interests just as there were (perhaps are now), Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland bent on hurting each other. Ethnic/racial/class hatred is an ugly thing.

But the point is one I make way too often when defending the Christian faith against flip atheists: it's not the faith that is bad, but the way it's been warped by some practitioners.  And the warping, as Dr. Blankinship of Temple University suggests in this column, has little to do with doctrine, and a lot to do with conflicting nationalisms.

Like Islam/Christianity/Judaism/Buddhism/Hinduism or not, we HAVE to find a way to cooperate with one another. As people who rent space on this planet, we have no choice.

Our neighbor (most often, not always) isn't the enemy -- our desire to dominate him or her might be.

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