We Belong

This morning I rolled over to an empty bed and my children being corralled downstairs by their father.  Although, I wasn’t tired enough to go back to sleep, I did what any self respecting mother of three would do.  I stayed in bed anyway.  I pulled the covers up under my arms, grabbed my iPhone and found my New York Times App.  I love my Scrabble app, my Facebook app and my recipe apps but the New York Times has my heart.

I began to read about our Nation’s latest political drama.  Tea Baggers (*snicker* seriously, that name brings to many foul images of a prank to mind.), corporate contributions to the charities of politicians and Glen Beck’s awkward awakening rally.  These are strange days folks.  The article that caught my eye was entitled American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?

If you answered that question with a quick no, I would like to direct you to the upper right hand corner.  Go ahead and click that little red “x” because you are not going to enjoy this post.

I only have a few Muslim friends.  They are all refugees and struggling with that very question in a myriad of ways.  I called my BMF (Best Muslim Friend) Abubakar to ask him what he thought about this article.  I first had to ask him if he was indeed Muslim.  I had never thought to ask him before.  To be honest, I never thought about it but now I needed to know.  
Earlier Conversations
The reason I wanted Abubakar’s opinion was because of conversations we have had about encouraging the world to seek peace.  He has said to me that he imagines a perfect city where we are not governed by the law and military.  He imagines a day when we are guided by our own character.  He calls this the Perfect City.  I love this idea.  Oooh, ooh, pick me to live in Utopia, please! 

I love this idea because it is so different from the extremists we hear in the media and yet, it’s so very radical.

I am like a soldier of peace.  I belong to peace.  If we, Muslims, Christians and Jews, follow the God who loves peace then we will find peace. We need to educate others about the Muslim faith in a peaceful way.

This is why I love Jesus.  He was a revolutionary that stuck it to the man who at that time was the Roman Empire.  In a day when the Roman boot was on the neck of the people to coerce them to join Rome or die, Jesus beckoned them to live a life of peace and love.  I love when I clearly see those traits in others.  Yes, even in a Muslim man.

Stop the Wind 
Abubakar began to discuss the building of a Mosque near the site of Ground Zero and his answers surprised me.  I believe that we have certain inalienable rights as citizens of the United States of America. In order to have those rights many, many people have died.  The Muslim people deserve, by law to build that Mosque.  
As Americans, we should never be willing to take away the rights of other Americans based on the fact that they may, possibly, some day, could, maybe be related to a terrorist.  This is a scary slippery slope.  We will have to balance the practical safety of our citizens while avoiding the mistakes we have made in the past because of fear. (See Japanese Internment Camps)

If the wind blows through your window, close it.  I would not build near Ground Zero.  It is not wrong but it is an unneccesary measure that will inhibit the healing of so many still suffering from the trauma of 9/11.  A Mosque is built to worship God.  I can worship anywhere.  People should not be hurt by the building of a Mosque. 

Leaders are supposed to be wise.  They are supposed to weigh the consequences of such actions.  The politicians and the religious leaders have shown themselves to be unworthy to bring about peace.  They only seem to bring about more discrimination. I blame both of them.

American Woman
At this point in our conversation, a light bulb came on. For me.  I’m sure Abubakar’s light was on when we started our little chat. As an American woman born in 1980, I am used to having rights.  Even as a woman of a multi-cultural back ground, I can vote, buy birth control and protest.  The Muslim American’s share those rights and all those not mentioned.  And they know it.

When an American feels like their rights are being challenged we dig our heels in.  We don’t sit peacefully in our parlors to await the final decision.  We lobby. We write our congressman. We complain. We contribute financially. We let our meager weight be known individually and we gather others to make it heavier.  That’s how we roll.  I don’t think the building of the Mosque near Ground Zero is a wise or thoughtful decision.  However, I understand the need to assert themselves in a country constantly questioning their citizenship.  

I feel like the Muslims want to show their muscles and claim their rights.  This is not the way.  We need to start considering each other with empathy and compassion.  We need to start feeling about each other the way we feel for ourselves.  We all want the same things.  We want a good life, a bright future.  We are all worth it.  All Muslims, Jews and Christians that work for peace should be working together to stop all of the violence and bigotry.  We should be working on the same team.

I love that Abubakar is way more diplomatic than I am.  Huh, go figure.

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