Saturday, September 22, 2007

Multi-Faith Healing Dinner: Toledo Islamic Academy

I attended a Ramadan Fast Breaking dinner as guests of the Toledo Islamic Academy which incurred racist graffiti on its building two days ago. We were invited to a special dinner and listened to a number of guests speak of coming together in a healing process. Erase the Hate was one of the sponsors of tonight's event.

There were perhaps 50 non-Muslims in attendance and we felt a very warm welcome by the Imam and principal of the academy who thanked us again and again for attending the service with them.

At our table was a charming family from Paris who had emigrated there from Algeria. They were bright and warm people and we discussed the mutual love for all of mankind devoid of ethnic or religious beliefs. It was grand to be surrounded by folks of so many different faith traditions, breaking bread together on a special night in the Islamic faith.

My mind wandered throughout the meal to those ugly people living right here in America such as Representative king from New York who recently said that there were too many mosques in America. Or those intolerant fundamentalist Christians who demand that their religion is the only road to salvation and who demand a litmus test of American politicians.

That is where the hate begins. That is why the graffiti was sprayed on the buildings. That is why the nooses hung from the white-only tree in Louisiana. Hate for folks different than they. Bigotry deep in the heart.

God does not live in hearts such as those; there is no room for God in such empty souls as those. Yet God was clearly in that dinner hall this evening and in each person dining there with me.

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