Letter to the editor: 'Fear...fans distrust of Islam'
September 01, 2010 - Dear editor,
I am a Catholic Christian, and I say "Amen" to Kyle Goodall's letter in last week's Review regarding the controversy over Muslims' right to build a mosque near the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
It seems to me that fundamentalists and extremists of all faiths are giving organized religion a bad name as they spew hate, intolerance, and division instead of love, compassion, and unity.
I suspect Goodall might agree that fear of "the other" fans distrust of Islam. Therefore, I suggest the following methods of educating oneself about Islam, as a constructive way of commemorating the ninth anniversary of 9/11.
You can visit a mosque, such as the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills.
I attended an open house several years ago to learn more about Islam, and seventh grade religious education students from Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church have toured the mosque/cultural center to do the same.
Meeting people one-on-one and breaking bread with them is the best way to get to know people different from yourself, but if you're uneasy about face-to-face contact with Muslims, at least check out the Muslim Unity Center's Web site at www.muslimunitycenter.org for information about Islam and activities/programs presented at the mosque.
Even Pope Benedict XVI visited and prayed in the Blue Mosque in Turkey in 2006, as a gesture of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.
You can read an English translation of Islam's most sacred text, the Qur'an, preferably a scholarly edition with explanatory notes to guide your understanding.
You may be surprised to see familiar names and stories that are respected and recounted in the Qur'an, such as Noah and the Flood, Moses leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and the angel announcing to Mary that she will bear the child Jesus.
On Sunday, January 30, 2011, at 4 p.m., you can attend the 12th annual World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation, an interfaith holy day of peace among the religions of the world, at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield (www.worldsabbath.org/).
This service consists of offerings of prayer, music, and liturgical dance by presenters from many beliefs, including the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahai, Jain, Zoroastrian, Native American, and other traditions.
Seeing the Children of Peace in their native dress, carrying colorful hand-made banners, and being part of a congregation of adults of all races and nationalities, gathered together to give praise to the Creator, is enough to make one believe there really is hope for the human race.
At the end of the service, we recite a congregational pledge to build a world where all may know that our faith calls us to be builders of peace, not makers of war, and together we sing the familiar closing song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth (and Let It Begin with Me)."
I challenge you to reach out and expand your definition of "neighbor," remember that the U.S. Constitution allows the free exercise of religion, and try one of the above suggestions.
Salaam, Shalom, Shanti, Peace.
-Amy Marcaccio Keyzer