Unification for the children of Abraham 

 
If it is not one right wing Christian convincing a queer church member that they are damned to hell than it is a Muslim extremist convincing a young man to blow himself up. In the wake of such terror and grief, unraveling the beauty of God’s grace and mercy has never been more pressing.

Scott Shane, Richard Perez-Pena and Aurelien Breeden discuss the ever bearing pressure felt by second generation immigrants in non-Muslim countries to convert to extremism. According to their New York Times article, “‘In-Betweeners’ Are Part of a Rich Recruiting Pool for Jihadists”, recruiters for Al Qaeda and the Islamic State target second generation immigrants who are feeling uneasy with their American assimilation. According to the New York Times article, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Al Qaeda recruiter who was killed in an American drone strike in 2011 encouraged American Muslim’s to resist American assimilation and to reject establishing communal relationships with their neighbors. Mr. Awlaki used his rhetoric to diminish American Muslim identities and criticize those who had adapted to their American lifestyles living in harmony with non-Muslims. According to Mr. Awlaki’s ideology living in harmony with non-Muslims is not condonable.

​However, Mr. Awlaki’s ideology is not consistent with the grace and mercy of Allah. According to all Abrahamic faiths, including Islam, enacting justice and mercy in the community are consistent with its themes. In regards to Islam, Muhammad rejected means of unnecessary violence. According to the historical accounts of Muhammad’s life and ministry, Muhammad’s intentions  did not include attacking non discriminately against those who came in peace, especially women and children. In addition, Muhammad lived peacefully with “the people of the Book”. Muhammad’s behavior was so admired at times that people from different faiths often converted to Islam merely because his behavior demonstrated admirable qualities.

​Therefore, in consideration of the extremist ideologies that seek to convince Muslim men and women to attack violently and indiscriminately against people of non-Muslim faith, their ideologies have been blind sighted by the furry of men. Therefore, now, more than ever, religious education needs to happen in the public sphere to counter false ideologies. The strategies imployed by the Islamic state are not new, every Abrahamic faith has walked down this road of demonizing the “other”. But, now is not the time to point fingers, it is time to teach people of all faith traditions to remember our commonalities and work toward remembering the Mercy of God. 

 

‘In-Betweeners’ Are Part of a Rich Recruiting Poyol for Jihadists http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/BBwvgs9?ocid=st

 

 

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Our Shared Humanity


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As the world becomes more interconnected with the influx of opposing concepts, we must remember that every once in while, we all stop to smell the roses.

As an American, and a recipient of inescapable imagery that correlates Muslim women wearing Niqabs with the threats of terrorism, I hope in the near future there may be a time when we consider not our differences but we’re able to see our shared humanity. A time where we may be unscathed by the terrors of war and poverty, seeing only our shared humanity to reconcile our fears. Desperate in a world with far too much darkness, my insides cry out for a reconciled community. In a world where individualism has waged and won the battle, I stand against the storm that threatens to consume me.

For those who are weary and broken, let us conjure up our hopes and dreams for a resolution. Broken against the strides of imperialism and technological entrapment, let us commence back in which we came, back to a place of harmony where mother nature serves to gain.

Susan Thistlethwaite in her book, “Dreaming of Eden”, reflects on the 1998 movie Pleasantville. Thistlethwaite, suggests that the film presents a scenario in which social transformation can be achieved through the incorporation of good and evil. According to Thistlethwaite’s review, the people of Pleasantville had a perceived perfect and good society,  projecting an image of innocence. However, after the integration of opposing concepts, Pleasantville becomes diversified. Thistlethwaite suggests, though this process inflicts conflict, resistance and pain it ultimately leads the community to become more colorful and culturally diversified. Thistlethwaite beckons her readers to recognize that their is no “perfect” society, that the knowledge of “good and evil” stems our creativity and is apart of human progression and social transformation.

As we face the era of globalization and cultural integration, like Thistlethwaite’s conception of Pleasantville, it is in the intermingling of our traditions and cultures that we will find our creative force for a new progressive society that has the capacity to overcome fear and terror. Our fragile existence may become all the more powerful when we approach our darkest fears, and find our commonalities.