One of my favorite people was Hakim. He was my supervisor at a State Park here in Texas. We had long discussions about racism, religion, oppression and everything between. He was a black Muslim man in his late 40’s, and I am a white woman without organized religious affiliation who was 28 at the time.
Hakim had grown up with his family attending services led by Malcolm X. His family left when Farrakhan picked up the reins of leadership Hakim was insightful, quick witted, and very kind. We discussed the the oppression of women due to religious rhetoric. We discussed the fear his family had at the change of leadership which drove them from the North to the far South. We discussed everything. Then cancer took him far too quickly.
I am sharing this story, because Hakim was a wonderful man who happened to be a Muslim. He was not an extremist, did ot try to take advantage of me, was a good father, and a loving husband.
Saying all Muslims are extremists that want to kill everyone else is the same as saying all white American males are all Timothy McVeys, all white women are Susan Atkins, insert other ridiculous over generalizations here…
I love that her program used EDUCATION and passages from the Qu’ran to bring change to people’s lives. We could use the same strategy here in the states using the good ole King James Bible to highlight the amazing roles of women (versus that darn Eve that brought all the troubles to mankind… maybe Adam should have manned up and said NO to that apple).
IGNORANCE is IGNORANCE no matter what religion you follow, the color of your skin, or gender you have. Instead of blindly following what you see on the “News” (try BBC News for actual unbiased news reporting), what your particular religious “leader” has told you, or what your good buddies at the j.o.b., try investigating through various channels. Compare the teachings of Muhammad to those of Jesus, speak to as many people as you can from various backgrounds (without forcing your opinions on them), learn about the many different religions based on the Bible to give you insight on how maybe, just maybe, extremists may have twisted the teachings of the Qu’ran, and learn about how many people and cultures were devastated by the Crusades. Then ask yourself if fear and ignorance were clouding your perspective. Were they causing you to make ignorant comments about every person in a particular religious group, country, or gender.
Education, compassion, and empathy are the keys to turning our world around. Be part of that change.