Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Islamophobia Comes to a Head in New York City

One of my brothers is a Muslim now. He also works part-time as a taxicab driver. That's why reading this story in the news today gave me the chills.

Muslim Cab Driver STABBED in New York City, Michael Enright Arrested on Hate Crime Charge

My mom is a Jehovah's Witness. They aren't exactly known for being folks who are open to the idea that there is more than one right way to do things, especially when it comes to religion. However, my mom always encouraged us to learn about the world around us. She taught us to be voracious readers and she never stopped us from reading about other religions and studying their holy texts. She caught a lot of flack for how she raised us, but we all turned out to be critical thinkers as adults. We didn't become Jehovah's Witnesses, but we all have a great deal of respect for folks of all faiths.

The worst part of this is that it has happened during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This is a month that Muslims around the world use as a time of reflection and fasting, prayer, sacrifice, and repentance. To have this happen to a Muslim during Ramadan is like having the same thing happen to a Catholic during Lent or to a Protestant on Christmas. Just when you have your thoughts focused on God and you're trying to reaffirm your commitment to worship Him to the best of your ability, someone comes along and stabs you in the neck.

This was an act of religious persecution. It is a hate crime, if ever there was one.

Please keep Ahmed H. Sharif and his family in your prayers and consider using the month of Ramadan as an opportunity to visit a mosque in your area. Every time I have ever entered one, I have been treated warmly, with welcoming arms. If the idea of religious persecution makes you as angry as it makes me, I think we should reach out to our Muslim sisters and brothers and let them know that we are not willing to sit by and watch bigots impugn Islam and victimize them in their own country.

1 comment:

Michael Watson said...

I've been thinking a lot about the growth of racism, in our country. Oddly, as a very light skinned First Nations/Scott hybrid, I can pass almost anywhere. The downside is that if people don't know my identity, they can be quite hurtful, speaking about others. My solution to this, in as much as it is a solution, is to be very out about my origins, and my everyday practice as a person raised from an early age to be a healer. My parents always encouraged me to lay low, but that just doesn't work anymore....