Friday, September 22, 2006

On This We All Agree

Yesterday I saw Yosra, a sweet, young Moslem woman, who does my nails from time to time. When we’re together, we usually have lively discussions about traditions and customs here and in the west. In view of these relaxed conversations, I mentioned that I thought Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about Islam were most unfortunate. She slowly moved her chair back a little bit, and I felt she did so to put some distance between us in case her remarks upset me. But instead of stating her opinion, she asked me a question. Did I think that the west really hated Moslems? I could understand that the Pope’s comments coming not long after the publication of the Danish cartoons would prompt such a thought. I answered that I didn’t believe that the west hated Moslems; but that the west was basically ignorant of Islam and Moslem concerns. I went on to say that these two incidents proved they could be thoughtless as well.

Our conversation continued by her telling me of the tolerance of Islam throughout history and reminding me that Jesus was mentioned in the Koran as a prophet. Her support for Moslem tolerance was quiet, sincere, and not in the least emotional. Then she ended the conversation with this simple statement, “After all, we all share this earth together. We must put aside differences and get along.”

ASH

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