Letter: No need to be afraid of Islam
What in the world was the Miner staff thinking when it published the latest submission from Mr. Zanna: "On 'good' Christians, Muslims", Sunday, Nov. 29?
While Mr. Zanna claims adherence to Christianity, he very obviously knows next to nothing about Islam. How dare he spout such blithering invective; and how dare the Miner print it.
And yet, this letter made me look internally. What have I done to better understand the Muslim religion? What can I do to better relate to my Muslim neighbors and their culture? In this small community, I have been very fortunate to know and interact with a family who is devoutly Muslim, to have wonderful health care providers who practice the Islamic religion, and to host in my home a young professional woman from Jordan - also Muslim.
It's not too difficult to learn a little about the history, traditions and current practices of Islam. Information abounds in the media. I have read with wonder many in-depth articles that convey the spiritual convictions of Islamic believers. I have been absorbed by NPR interviews with newsmakers and clergy and everyday practitioners of Islam. And I have gained a better awareness of the sameness of our spiritual goals.
But this knowledge is purely academic. I really don't know my Muslim neighbors. And that's what Sunday's letter brought home to me. I am disturbed that the distance between Mr. Zanna and me may be less than the distance between my Islamic acquaintances and me. I want to change that.
I want to change that because the better my neighbor and I know each other, the less we fear each other. I want to change that because I am weary of the suspicion and finger-pointing focused on Islam instead of terrorism. I want to change that because I am haunted by the unbelievable conditions of Syrian refugees; they remind me of the Muslim family I know in our community. The parents also came here looking for a better life. They seamlessly and successfully integrated into our community, raising two beautiful children who excelled in our educational system. They are models of what Islam teaches, and they deserve our sincere respect.
I want them to know they have mine.