Last night, I could hardly sleep, I couldn’t bring my mind to shut down, as it was racing hundred miles per hour, thinking of what has recently happened in Kuwait, Tunisia and France! (See details here) I couldn’t determine the feelings I had, but mainly a mixture of disgust, fear, sadness and lots of anger! And all this cruelty was in the name of religion! A religion that stats its greeting as : “Assalam Alaykum”: A wish for the other to be blessed with peace! A religion where you arent a Muslim, unless you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself! A religion where God instructs us to show mercy to those on earth, so that he has mercy on us! A religion where God orders justice and good conduct! Yet in the name of this peaceful religion, horrifying act are happening!
When I once heard that unlike what we might all think, religion is not the cause of wars, I couldn’t help but gasp in total disbelieve! And now more than ever, I feel like screaming my lungs out, that this CAN NOT be true! Look around you and see what’s happening and what had happened in the world! The civil war in Ireland, the civil war in Sudan, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the crusades, the Lebanese civil war, the french war of religions… And the list goes on! People die because they were born into Roman Orthodox families, Sunnis, Shiite, jewish or even atheist families! It breaks my heart that my son, will live in a world where people kill each other because of what they believe in (or don’t believe in)! Thinking of all this, made me want to teach my son to never tell anyone what his religion is (or his parents)! To never talk with other people about what they believe in, to never mention faith! To be a silent believer! Alas I can’t! This is not how I want to raise my son! I need him to be proud of his choices! I want him to learn that he is free to believe whatever he wants! I never want to limit him to what I (or the rest of the world) think is right!
I was born in a very conservative Muslim family, yet when at the age of ten, I wanted to cover my head –Hijab– my mother was absolutely against it! She told me that I was still a kid, and that I needed to be fully mature, to be able to make such a big decision! And when my brother, came one summer, with the news that he wants to marry a Christian woman, my parents tried to advise him but when they saw that he has made up his mind, they opened their arms wide to receive their new Christian daughter-in-law! This is how I grew up! Muslim yes, but free! Free to be myself! Growing up, we had neighbours who were jewish, but to us they were neighbours, period! They would wish us a Ramadan Kareem and we would congratulate them on their kids’s Bar Mitzvah! How I wish I could go back in time, and raise my son in that loving and peaceful environment, where everyone gets to be free to be Muslim, Christian, Jew, or even Atheist! I am proud to be Muslim, but this is a very private relationship between my God and I! Where I allow no one to come close! And everyone should be given the privilege to do so! Why would/ should anyone care if I am Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Atheist? What does it add or do to anyone else? I believe in doing the right thing and being kind, and I believe there is always a reason for things to happen and that’s more than enough! I pray from the bottom of my heart, for this violence to cease and stability to be restored, so that my kids, your kids, and all the kids in the world, can live in peace and harmony! Please join me in this prayer!!