I was awoke to some bad news this morning. It appears that a group of Hispanics decided to go after a local Mosque this morning at about 5am.
It has yet to be decided if this was a hate crime or just a issue where the Hispanic group was just being stupid, though for my money, I will go with the later.
What this does do is bring to a head, for me, something that has bugged me non-stop since Sept 11th, 2001. That is this misconception that all Muslims (or anyone following the path of Islam) is either a terrorist or in some way supporting them. This could not be farther from the truth, and the accusation is made out of one of two things… fear of what they do not understand or ignorance.
I know and have known many Muslims through my life. I work with some and I have met many through my travels, and never once, even after 9/11, have I felt uncomfortable around them. In fact a couple of them were worried about me and my attitude towards them. Shortly after the attacks, there was a rash of attacks on Mosques in the US, these were being lead by people that thought that they were doing something to get back at the people who started the attacks. In reality they were doing nothing more than showing their own ignorance and intolerance to a people that they do not understand.
To be fair, I am certain that there are those in the local Muslim communities that do feel that the attacks on 9/11 were justified, and that there should be more, but I am also very confident that they are not all that way, and in fact those that support the attacks are probably the minority of those groups. It also needs to be said that I am not including the militant groups that cause the 9/11 attacks in my qualifier. There are militant groups in every religion, but I do not believe that they speak for everyone that practices it, only for the few that decide that this is the only option open to them.
I will not claim to be an expert on this, or anything like it. I can only go on my own experiences in life, and I have learned that most people are basically good. There are the exceptions, and we all run into them as we go through life, but they are not as many as you might think.
Back to the topic at hand. I encourage you to read the Quaran. It is truly a beautiful book… I only wish that I could read it in it’s native language. I have been told that it is much more so. I also encourage you to visit a Mosque. Not all will allow visitors (at least at the time of this writing due to threats), so check before you go. You should call them and talk to someone there, and make sure that you do nothing to offend, in other words, be respectful as you would like visitors to be while visiting your church or synagogue. Along those same lines, visit other places of worship, and learn about them as well. One of the biggest enemies to us is our own ignorance. If we succumb to ignorance, then we will never win anything more than self destruction.
In closing, religion, all religion, is a wonderful tool for living. It provides you with guidance and gives you a center. It helps keep you and your life in check by letting you know that there are much bigger things out there than yourself. Nothing is more humbling that to think of the Earth and everything on it as being nothing more than a single grain of sand on a beach.
Thank you for your time.
(12 December 2008 – Small edits have been made for clarity at this time.)