‘Cancer in its midst’
During the dark days of our Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote, “That these are the times, that try men’s souls.” As an American Muslim, I feel the sentiment of these words like a red-hot brand on my brain.
I have watched horrified as assassins have read out the words from my Holy Koran before slitting the throats of some poor innocent souls. To my non-comprehending eyes, I have seen mothers proudly support their sons’ accomplishment of blowing up innocent people as they eat or travel. It shatters some part of me, to see my faith as an instrument for butchery.
It makes me hope and pray for some counter-movement within my faith which will push back all this darkness. And I know that it must start with what is most basic — the common truth that binds all religions: “Do unto others, as you would have them do onto you.” The Golden Rule.
Night after night, I see Muslim national organizations like the Council for American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, cry out over and over about anecdotal victimization while saying and doing absolutely nothing about the most vile hate-speak and actions toward Jews and Christians in the Muslim world. It is the most self-serving of outrage.
The question I ask myself in the darkness of my own night is, “How did my beautiful faith become so linked with such ugliness.” To me, the answer is both deep and simple. A spiritual path must be only about the spiritual while a worldly path must be about this world. When the two get mixed together, it brings out the very worst in both.