Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Living To Learn

All-American Muslim

One recent night, I don't remember which one, I watched a program on TLC called All-American Muslim.  I had never watched it before but noticed it was going to be about September 11 from the American Muslim prespective.  I was intrigued.

Now, I cannot come to a common ground with a Muslim when it comes to religion, other than to know they have the freedom to worship as they see fit, just as I do.  We do not worship the same god because I worship I AM, Yahweh, Jehovah God, Creator of the Universe and all that is therein.  They worship Allah, a name given to one of a pantheon of gods and jinns chosen by Mohammed to be their one god.

I heard divergent opinions expressed by the guests on the program from at least two generations.  The older generation seemed more ready to accept at least the responsibility to speak out against Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban and accuse them of hijacking the Muslim faith and proclaim they were not true Muslims.  The younger generation seemed more tired of apologizing and less ready to continue to accept that they have a responsibility to speak out against the terrorists.  I think they were perhaps a bit less patient than the older generation. To me, that seemed to be a commonality between our cultures, for sure!

I was, however, quite impressed with one young man and young woman who were American born Arabs of Lebanese decent and of the Muslim faith.  I honestly don't remember if they were a couple or were siblings.  They traveled to NYC to visit Ground Zero.  They had never been there and wanted to see the location for themselves, I suspect for much the same reason that you and I would want to make the same trip.  They both wore tee shirts proclaiming "I am not a terrorist" and were quite open to inquires and open discussion about why they wore the shirts.

They went to visit the tattoo parlor of Ami James of New York Ink fame.  Knowing that James was an Israeli, yet a talented tattoo artist, the couple were somewhat anxious about the visit.  After arriving at the shop, they entered into a conversation with James as he prepared to do the tattoos.  They talked about the fact that he was Israeli and had served with the Israeli military as a sniper in the war with Lebannon, which was the ancestry line of the Arab Americans.

One of the most poignant statements made during the program was this; James said "Isn't it bad that we both had to leave our ancestral homes in order to be friends?"  There they sat in New York City, home of the most agregious attacks of 9/11 and the most deaths.  In Israel or Lebannon, neither could reasonably expect to sit in public, talk and maintain any semblance of a friendship; yet here in NYC they could sit together and talk openly, expressing divering opinions without fear of retribution from any source.

For all that is wrong in our country, we remain the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave.  I thought as I watched those people talking "All of the brave don't necessarily wear a uniform; some just live their lives in a manner they could never do in their ancestral homes".  It was an eye-opening experience for me; one that taught me I need to open my heart and my mind to at least HEAR the other side.  God help me to remember I am no one's judge; only You have that right and/or responsibility.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.
Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6: 37   (NLT)                       


Margie said...

I loved your post. I actually really really like that show.

I grew up for 15 years in that city, in that area. I went to high school at Fordson for 9th grade. My friend (she's a Christian) and her husband (he's a Muslim) are seen in the background quite a bit.

I loved living there, I loved the culture, the people I knew were just like me, with the exception of the God we love.

I had a friend who was a Christian and he converted to Muslim and when I finally was brave enough to ask him why he said that all the muslims that he knew would give you their last meal and their clothes because they trusted God that much to know that he would provide, and that's what he wanted, while most of the Christians he knew would not. Boy, was that eye opening to me, and changed the way I looked at God's provision.

I think I wrote a post in this comment :)


Constance said...

Wow Diane, you must be inside my head. I have yet to share this with our sisters but I have been really struggling lately with this very subject matter. I am NOT prejudiced even though I grew up like most of us in this "hood" during the struggle for Civil Rights.

My struggle lies in feeling like a failure as a Christian mother. Last year we prayed for our daughter Jessica because she was in a less than ideal marriage and had worked up the gumption to start a new life for her and our grand-daughter Jacey. While I don't like the idea of divorce, I saw this as an opportunity for her to re-connect with God and begin living out her Christian life and growing a much more intimate relationship with Christ.

This past summer, she began dating a friend of hers that she has known for the last 3+ years. He's a super nice guy, treats her like she deserves, dotes on our grand-daughter, is handsome, polite intelligent, and incredibly interesting. He is from South Africa and was raised Muslim...

I know that as Believers we are Ambassadors for Christ. I know that the way we treat him is the way he will view Christianity. He has gone to Easter service with us but didn't have a clue what was going on. He was touched however when he saw that one of our Mission outreaches is to an orphanage in Uganda. When he saw the video clip he got incredibly homesick. He came to our house Christmas Eve and participated in a gift exchange as well. He continuously thanks us for the way we have opened our home and ourselves to him.

This all sounds really good doesn't it? My struggle lies in the fact that I know my daughter. I see so much of the insecurities in her that I had to come to grips with. Simply put, she is not a leader but a follower. It isn't likely (I admit that with God nothing is impossible) that she will influence him rather he is influencing her.

Wisdom and experience along with my Mother's heart sees the potential for disaster down the road...Sigh...Sorry to be such a downer.

Love ya Sis!

Pat said...

First of all Diane, your writing is could be a professional journalist.
My feelings about Muslims are very strong, and I have to admit, not favorable. It goes much deeper then being friendly, or personable. It goes to the tenants of their faith and what their core religious beliefs are and those beliefs are not favorable to Christians, or even women. I totally understand Connies concerns and I will now be in prayer for her daughter.
I also feel this program is propaganda. I live where this is filmed. I see it much differently. It's not about personalities, but about a religious battle. Sorry to leave such a long comment!

Mrs. Mac said...

Your writing groove is back in full swing. :)

Diane said...

Thank you all for your comments and compliments. Connie, dear sister, I am praying for Jessica and for this relationship. I have been, for the vast majority of my life, a follower. I wouldn't say I'm a leader now, but I find it much easier to speak out when I have a viewpoint different from those around me. I would love to be able to say that am absolutely not prejudice, but the truth is that I sometimes am. I don't like that about myself and it is one of the things the Lord has shown me that I need to allow Him to work with in me. I never want to compromise my faith or my Lord, but I want to know more before I form opinions.

As for my writing ability, I must say that the 'ugly' post was amazingly cathartic for me. It cleared the air in my spirit and in my heart and mind. I now find I might actually have something to say that is worth saying.

God is amazing like that!

Love you girls dearly!!!!