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The Challenge of Islam

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Salt and pepper

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We share so little knowledge, and, therefore, understanding of one of the worlds great religions. We are aware, only, of those practitioners who impregnate themselves with the “jihad” and its rewards; the rule of “Shari’ah Law” some wish to impose on themselves and others; the crippling effect of an attitude towards half the human race [women] and other rudiments of their cultural religion. Much of the fear we sense arises from our misunderstanding of it. It is as if our vision is of a portion of a wall that separates us. That partial vision is interpreted by us as if it is a part of an impregnable fortress of rules, rites, adherents. We fail to see the humanness of its adherents.

Our goal is one and the same as it once was between Catholic and Protestant, [remember the mass killings of the Huguenots in France by the Archbishop Richelieu], Christians and Jews, Romans and Christians, coloured and white,  tyrants and democracy – and so many others. Each of these roads were rocky, long, uphill, and arduous. We were fortunate for the appearance of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King,  Mahatma Ghandi, to name a few, who had a vision, and, who guided us through the white waters of our progress. Perseverance, maintaining an eye on the goal, insured success.  To have peaceful co-existence, one must have understanding. To have understanding and, to show that we have understanding, we must incorporate into our daily lives some of the aspects of the opposite view into our lives. Africa incorporated the disenfranchised in their democracy; the coloured of America became accepted in formerly quarantined areas, and equality to a nation of castes. Our scrapbook of achievements is voluminous. The world is machinating itself into a better place as each era faces its challenges.

This is the month of Ramadan. During this month, those of the Islamic faith refrain from eating or drinking during the daylight hours. If many non-Islamics were to practise Ramadan, even for a week, for a day, and do it in a fashion to show our support for our Islamic brothers, one would soon find, I am wagering, that, indeed, we would find that are  brothers.

Many times the method of control is the use of arms, security through force and regimentation, when all the world really needs is love and understanding. As are forebears and ourselves have met other challenges, we face this challenge. The challenge is most foreboding because in this time we have so much more the ability to move, to communicate, to ruminate, to annihilate than ever before.

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