My heart is broken. A whole city under attack. What is going on? Not to mention that I’m affected by this through reading the links on Facebook. I have not turned on my tele. If I did, it would be far worse. Then I read the comments. Some horrific comments about Muslims and Islam. Of course, there are those who defend the religion and try to give perspective. My favorite is the one that we are accusing people without knowing who is behind these attacks. Oh dear God! Stop! Please. So many people died. Can we slow down and stop these accusations and focus on what’s important?
I should not make light of this situation but I have to be honest. At the back of my mind, I can see the news 3 days from today. I see a young caucasian being arrested. “Mentally ill individual blamed for the attack on Paris” will be the headlines and then I’m not sure how the media will take it. Flip side. Do we really need to know what the flip side is? Some mentally ill idiot who has a Muslim name and/or mentions the words Jihad or Islam and we all know how that story will go. We have lived through our 9/11. You haven’t truly lived through 9/11 unless you’ve been affected by it, as an innocent Muslim; as majority of Muslims have been. I cringe to think this is Paris’ 9/11, but the result will be the same.
Memory flash back. 2001. I wear a head scarf and pray in the resident’s room. One of the resident’s silently watch. A faculty member walks in as I finish prayer. “Here you are praying and over there your people are destroying our country” This when the wounds of 9/11 were very open and sore, in all of us. My wounds were only torn apart more and salted because the perpetrators of such insults never considered I had wounds. They never considered that it was an attack on humanity and that my religion does NOT stand for that kind of insanity.
I see a post about bomb blasting in Lebanon or Syria yesterday and many were killed. The post talked about our “first world” concerns with bombings. I guess, if 1000 people died elsewhere, but 200 died in Paris, what’s worse?
Then there’s the article I read or saw about empathy and how we can empathize with 1 or 2 people dying, if we put a name and a face to it. The moment we say a million people died, our empathy is not as much. It’s an occurrence.
I don’t know every nook and cranny of my religion, but I know one thing. I know my religion, the religion of Islam absolutely CONDEMNS this and all acts of terrorism. No ifs ands or buts. That’s a period.
This is not a time for hate. This is not a time for finger pointing. Actually it never was the time for such judgements. I was going to write this article yesterday. How ironic that I didn’t and Paris happened today? I was going to write about the climate of hate on Facebook. There are some posts that are very anti-Islam. Then there are posts by Muslims in defense that are anti-Jew and back and forth. I think it’s time to step up to the plate and recognize if you are part of the haters or the hated. If you are a hater, then it’s time to stop. It’s time to stop using your confirmation biases and posting against any group or religion. If you are a hated, it’s time to stop retaliating by hating someone else for something else.
Our world whether we like it or not is transient. At the end of the day, we all go 6 feet under, unless we are cremated. We are all humans. We have one planet. Can we not take care of our planet and each other? Why must we continue to destroy and hate because someone else is doing it? I challenge you all to stand up for respect and understanding of all religions and human beings. Walk a mile in their shoe. Let’s not let these acts of terrorism poison our minds with distrust and vengeance.
Tonight, I’m praying. I’m praying for everyone in Paris and all the families and friends of those affected around the world. I’m praying for the protection of our world and the protection of all human beings. I pray for community and thoughtful leadership. I pray because I believe in a higher power and I believe we are insignificant dots on the landscape of time and space. I pray we all can be better people and more accepting of each other. And I just pray…
Please join me in prayer for all our humanity. Please join me in love.
Best wishes always,