By Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, Publisher of Muslim Community Report
It is so amazing to watch some of the most admired individuals in their religious circles comfortably promoting hate and receiving thunderous approving applause from their congregants in this day and age, in the name of God (The Most Loving of His creation).
Instructions such as don’t be too close in friendship to such and such people because they are non-believers, is a message that has consistently been preached to our children by parents, spiritual and religious teachers and at the same time we talk about the love of Moses, Jesus, Mohammad (PBUT) and so forth.
A few years ago, I was invited to a conference in New Jersey as an imam with a rabbi and a pastor to talk about our commonality and when we showed up and got seated the pastor was nowhere to be found. We where later informed that he did not want to come and share a panel with a nonbeliever–meaning me. Amazingly, the missing pastor happened to be an African decent person. He could have been a cousin of mine or may have very well be my blood relative separared by the European criminal enslavement, we might have even had the same religion. Shouldn’t that matter, I pondered ?
Also, I currently host a Jewish Synagogue in my mosque building and a lot of Muslims who used to come and pray with us stopped coming because to them this is an un-Islamic act.
Our school is part of a peace promoting project called Interfaith Living Museum where Muslim and Jewish students in Islamic and Jewish private schools come together for cultural exchange and to learn about each other. Again this project cost us a lot of students whose parents firmly believed Jewish and Muslim students should not be friends. Some even believe we will be enemies forever.
Who can forget last year, when the world watched a single Florida pastor vowing to burn a copy of Holy Quran that he deems worthy of burning while his small church not only didn’t stop him in the name of the loving Jesus, but celebrated his hateful intention.
On September 11, 2001, a few misguided individuals full of hate couldn’t care who would be slaughtered by their action, men, women and children, religious or not.
In Oklahoma City, a building full of people including children was mercilessly bombed to the ground, so were in Madrid, Kenya, London, Indonesia, Uganda, India, Nigeria, the list go on… The sad and scary reality in all these acts is that they were all done in the name of religion.
Think about the conflict in the Holy Land-a sacred place to Abrahamic families- where most of its residents, despite their overwhelming commonality, are not safe, free or friendly to each other.
…Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves. 13:11.
Can we really have peace in our neighborhoods, cities or the world if we continue on the same path? The answer is no. There is a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes. We must change course. It does not make a sense for religious leaders to prefer common bond with lying, cheating, murdering, racist hypocrite who is of their religion to a pious, decent, loving and honest neighbor who happen have a different religious affiliation. All we can do is to help and love one another in this world, hereafter, exclusively belongs to one God-the creator, master and sustainer of all, call him what you may.
Our children must be taught love and respect of others not hate and demeaning of our human family. We can all be firm in our individual beliefs without justifying hate to others. We can all promote what we have in common and not continue to highlight differences. We can all be friends to each other in this life and leave God to decide our common destiny hereafter, as He the only capable to decide it. We can build churches, mosques and synagogues together for the love of God and His beloved servant- Abraham (Peace on him). Our problem should not be how one worships God, rather whether one believes and follow the commandment in his respective Holy Book. I will conclude with a verse from my holy book: Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 2:62.