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Friday, December 24, 2010
Building Respect for Christmas
A handful of Jews, Muslims and others show belligerence towards the celebration of Christmas and have vandalized Christmas trees, shame on them. The good news is that they are less than 1/100th of 1% of any given group. There will always be a few among (every one) us who are bellicosive towards others. Are you and I any better than them? If we are, our attitudes should not mirror them; instead it should be what can we do to make the world a better place? What can we do to change instead of aggravating it?
The public is as guilty as the media when it comes to what gets currency; it is a vicious circle and has to be consciously chucked. The media mirrors the stories generated by less than 1/100th of 1% of population and dumps on the rest of the population as though it is ‘their’ story, and the public on the other hand has not demonstrated their support for good news and scrutiny.
We all need to work on building respect for each others celebrations. On NPR this morning, there was a Christian Radio broadcaster who was telling that in Bethlehem they cannot talk any thing that amounts to proselytizing. There was a Muslim chap in Seattle who was plotting to destroy the Christmas tree, and here is a Jewish Mayor in Nazareth refusing to allow Christmas tree in the town square. Some idiot somewhere around the world will continue to do this non-sense. Just hold on to your emotions; let’s avoid stereotyping their nations, religions or ethnicities.
A Christian lady in Pakistan is charged up with blasphemy; she said bad things about Islam because she was called names when she was drawing water from the lake and they pushed on her patience. A few among Hindus in India will harm some trees, and a few among Christians in America will do something stupid to frighten others. I am sure; you will find this fanaticism in every corner of the world where a few from the majority communities acts like bullies. No nation or religion can cast the first stone, a truth said by Jesus long time ago.
Once again, I request you to ask your Pastors to find ways to mitigate conflicts and not flare it up in their sermons.
Just as Jesus symbolized love for the humanity; Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Mahavira, Nanak, Bahaullah, Zarathustra and others whether we know them or not, had dedicated their whole lives to build social cohesion through justice.
This article is to bring awareness that the media’s reporting is statistically insignificant, and assure fellow inhabitants of the world who are Christians, to understand and resist the temptation to hold Jews or Muslim responsible for the acts of a few bad men.
As a Muslim I celebrate the message of Jesus and his birth as I would celebrate and honor Prophet Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha…. and others who have worked diligently to bring peace, justice and harmony to the societies. It would be smallness in me to deny their work for humanity.They wanted nothing but goodness for humanity and their messages was for every one, not any one in particular. The Quraan begins addressing the Universal Lord and closes with Humanity. Same thing can be said about Bhagvad Gita and many a holy scriptures.
Jesus did not preach to Christians, he preached to the whole humanity. He is my hero, my teacher and my mentor along with all those great teachers and today, on his birthday, I will do everything I can to propagate his message of peace on earth without becoming a member of any private club. May God bring us all peace as a gift on this Christmas. Amen!
Mike Ghouse runs the Foundation for Pluralism championing the idea of co-existence through respecting and accepting the otherness of other and has dedicated his life to nurturing the pluralistic ideals embedded in Islam through the World Muslim Congress.
Mike is available to speak on Pluralism, Islam, Civil Societies, Peace & Justice at your school, work place, seminars or place of worship. He is a regular commentator on the TV, Radio and Print media offering pluralistic solutions to the issues of the day. He is a speaker, thinker, writer and a peace activist.
Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/