Ex malum bonus
This afternoon, I read something which weighed heavy on my soul: a blog post over at Houston Belief about a planned "observance" on September 11 this year. The observance? Just read an excerpt from the announcement:
“On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm - 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”
Now, let's be honest: I am no stranger to religious bigotry. And, I still remember the oppressive spirit I felt in the air that day, as if the negativity of the "protesters" was permeating the entire area.
A very similar feeling came over me as I read about this. Having lived and traveled in Europe during the 60s, and having talked with people who actually survived the Nazi occupation and its evil offshoot the Holocaust, I saw and heard for myself what happens when good men fail to stand up to evil. And seriously, folks, the decision to burn the sacred text of another religion in the name of one's own God, that is truly an evil thing.
As I finished reading Ms. Khalid's response to this assault on her religion, I noticed there were no comments. I felt the need to say something, to reach out to her and those like her who felt under attack for their beliefs, because of a religion they share - no matter how tenuous the connection - with some very awful criminals. As I sat there and thought about what to say, a sense of calm came over me: reminding me somewhat of my visit to Atlanta and the King Center some years back. An area dedicated to non-violence, where again the spirit of the place could be felt - but it was a much calmer spirit, washing over my soul and leaving me feeling safe and secure, as if God Himself were there and telling me that things were in fact going to be OK.
In that moment, the fear, the anger, the pain left me: I knew what it was I must write, and why. So, I scribbled on the keyboard the following message:
You know - I think I *will* participate in an activity with the Quran on Sept 11th! Instead of *burning* it, however, my activity will involve *reading* it!
The lesson I was taught that day in Atlanta, apparently it 'took'. Because, I realized that the proper answer, the only real answer to violence, lay in non-violence. So, instead of giving in to my anger by engaging in a shouting match with the book-burners, I would channel that emotion into another direction, by showing those who would commit such an atrocity in the name of the Son of God, the One who died for the sins of the world, that I would not allow their hate to corrupt and control me, that I would in fact give a Christ-like response - the response He expects of me.
I also suggested to Ms. Khalid that possibly she and some of her fellow bloggers at Houston Belief could arrange for a "counter-observance" on the same September 11, an observance to celebrate E Pluribus Unum, the motto that expresses the very essence of America. I truly hope this can be put together in such a short period of time: I think it would give our city another much-needed boost.
But, whether or not such an event is held, I would invite everyone who reads this to (1) point out this post to those you know via Twitter, Facebook, or other means; and (2) pick up a copy of the Q'uran, and on September 11, 2010, between 6PM and 9 PM, take some time to read the Q'uran, so that those who perished that day, and in the days since that awful event, will not have died for nothing. For, just as "out of many, one", we can, with God's help, bring "out of evil, good".
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Recently (08/14/10) Ruth Nasrullah wrote Ramadan diary: Trying to get back. Check it out!
As I noted earlier, I plan on undertaking an alternative to the “Burn a Quran Day” activity one Florida “church” has planned...
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