Wednesday, December 10, 2008

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

(Bi-Annual Issue, Volume I, January-June 2010)
(Revised Edition)

Editors: Maureen Burt, Mohamed and Rashida Ziauddin

MANKIND is but one single human community inhabiting the mother Earth. However for too long, the extremists from all religions have frequently tried to divide our single humanity by literally and symbolically locking us in individual social and religious boxes and preventing us from understanding our other "different" brothers and sisters from across the world.

While there are millions of ways in which individual religions are actively working towards the best interests of their individual faith and for their members, comparatively very limited groups exists that actively work towards multi-faith unity.

There is no short supply of news regarding the violence, mayhem and destruction that we see all around the globe mainly because of our obsession to focus on our differences from other groups be it on the basis of religion, nationality, race, ethnicity, culture, gender et.c

Let's not allow the extremists of our individual faiths to hijack the essence of all religions - PEACE AND LOVE.

Let's work together by focusing on our similarities.

(1) Almost all of us started off with the smallest social unit - FAMILY.
(2) We all have common basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.
(3) We all have common social needs of a sense of belonging to a particular group.
(4) We all have a need to feel accepted and (generally speaking) do not mind helping others. When a person asks our help, at least it makes us feel important enough that he or she has approached us to get help, however small the help may be.
(5) Most of us would love to have a partner that understands us, is able to connect with us and find it pure pleasure not only to imagine and visualize the endless possibilities but also to build a real life relationship that could lead to marriage & later family et.c. In simple words, build a relationship that they both feel comfortable growing "grey"(old) together.

We acknowledge not all of us feel the way explained above. We must be tolerant enough to recognize that not all of us will have the same dreams or wishes. For example, some of the priorities of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans gender human beings may be different from the mainstream particularly when it comes to raising a typical nuclear family.

As a first small baby step:

Let Christians begin to say "We love Jews and Muslims"
Let Jews begin to say "We love Christians and Muslims" and
Let Muslims begin to say "We love Christian and Jews"

For after all, we all are the sons of Abraham and people of the same Abrahamic faith. Most of the extremists of all faiths consider the liberals and moderates as an opposition force to reckon with. But by the grace of God, it is the moderates that are the GLOBAL MAJORITY. Because the extremists realize that they are a negligible minority, they quickly realized the importance of being "extremely" close to each other to maximize their firepower of aggressively imposing their values on the PASSIVE majority.

The moderates knowing fully well that they are in majority generally tend to be passive and have no strong motivating force whatsoever to team up & coordinate with other moderates and liberals, because they are not aggressive in terms of imposing their moderate views on others.

THE OUTCOME: The aggressive and destructive actions of the extremists are on the headlines almost everyday.

We appeal to all moderates to change the above treacherous landscape. We, the people of the Abrahamic faith need to downplay our differences and highlight our common points and get together to become ONE COMMON UNIVERSAL FORCE to combat the extremists. Even non-extremist Hindus, Buddhists and people of other faiths and atheists are welcome to join us in this universal struggle. We can no longer afford to be literally like a carpet for the extremist forces to aggressively run over us.

We have to start somewhere right ? Why not initially at least begin at a verbal level as indicated above ? Some of us have been soaked so thoroughly (thanks to the media) with negative, hateful stereotype of other faiths, that at times, it becomes difficult to even verbalize the above inter-faith statements of love even though we may not mean it. You could well imagine, how much more difficult it would be to practically implement above statement of inter-faith love.

We all know that just verbally saying something is NOT enough, we need to back it up by translating the same verbal statement into our intentions in our heart and eventually translate it in our actions towards people of other faiths than ours.

Whether it is at our workplace or neighborhood, we should strive to reach out to people of other faiths on a personal level and if appropriate, build relationships including but not limited to opening the doors of our house to have them as our guests and allow them to enjoy our company and ethnic food et.c.

For Muslims in the western world, we strongly urge them to check into inter-faith groups in their local city and to consider participating in such groups. Such inter-faith groups generally switch their meeting place from a Mosque to Church to Synagogue. For many people in such groups, it would be the first time, they are ever stepping into a place of worship of other faiths.

It is high time that we come OUT of our seemingly SECURE BOXES and follow what Almighty Allah advised in the Holy Quran: "Mankind is But One Community". Please note that the word is MANKIND and not MUSLIMS. Needless to say mankind includes people of all faiths, nationalities, color, race, creed, ethnicity et.c.

It is really pathetic of what is going on in Israel, West Bank and Gaza. People of all faiths must join together and:

(1) Call upon Israel to help in establishing an independent PALESTINIAN STATE
(2) Reject HAMAS wishes that Israel NOT exist
(3) Reject violence from both Israel superior military force and from helpless Palestinians
(4) Work tirelessly for peace among Muslims and Jews.

We appeal to all our brothers and sisters among all faiths to join us in this endeavor.

Editorial Team