I am hearing the phrase ‘the normalization of bullying and racism’ in a lot of circles of concerned folk right now, and not just Muslim ones. Minorities are being targeted, even women. That’s half the population! So like it or not, we are all in this together. It’s time to link arms and join forces to see what we can do.
A little Kum By Yah wouldn’t hurt, either.
I turn to my faith for answers when the going gets rough, just as I do when all is well. I understand from my reading of the Qur’an that we all come from an original pair of male and female, and from them became tribes and nations, so that our differences would compel us to know each other, not distrust, fear or hate one another.
We learn from the final sermon of Muhammad, that no Arab is better than a non-Arab and no white better than a black. That we were all created equal in the sight of God with only piety and good deeds as criteria, and that this judgement could only be adequately and fairly assessed by God Himself, not by our limited and biased human perception.
I marveled at the transformation of a militant and separatist Malcolm X who penned a beautiful letter during his pilgrimage to Mecca: America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white, but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.*
A short sura (chapter) of the Qur’an sums up some very basic human guidelines:
Don’t gossip or insult. Don’t spread tales or call names. You never know who might be the better person in the eyes of God.
Repel evil with good. Using vulgar language, gossip, and teasing creates hate; God wants us to be merciful with each other.
Encourage and praise the good. Forbid and prevent the bad. Three options exist to correct a wrong: change it with the hand, speak up, or at the very least, recognize it as such. Muhammad said ‘help the oppressed and the oppressor.’ How? By preventing the oppressor from oppressing.
It is summed up well in this verse:
Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge. (The Romans 30:22)
The human experience is greatly and beautifully enhanced by knowing ‘the other’. We were made differently to be so curious, so hungry, so delighted, so complete, to know those different from ourselves.
Now, who’s with me for a rousing chorus of Kum By Yah!