On the New York Times website today (Saturday, 3/11) is a story about a Syrian-American woman who has spoken out against the violence being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam.
Here is an excerpt:
Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.
Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.
In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.
... She (observes), "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."
Here is a link to the full article.
There are lessons in Dr. Sultan's words for everyone of us. Those of us who do not consider ourselves to be Muslim should not take comfort in her observation that "only Muslims" perform these kinds of terrorist acts. Every religion, every culture, every nationality, even every individual, has been there in one way or another, at one level or another, whether in our actions, in our words, in our thoughts, or otherwise. In this context, one of my favorite Gospels stories (at Luke 9:53), recently shared with a new friend of TZF from Australia, tells how the disciples asked Jesus if he wanted them to burn to the ground a village which had declined a visit from him. Imagine it. They are living in the presence of the Teacher who had just told them to "love one another as I have loved you", and now, a few breaths later, they want to burn a village to the ground! None of us is immune. This week's "Here's A Thought", quoting Anne Lamott, says it beautifully: You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
I admire Dr. Sultan for having the courage to speak out. I thank her for doing so. I wish her safety.
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