[Editor’s Note: Laura originally wrote this piece in June 2017, due to our hiatus we are publishing it now. Please note how resonant the message remains.]
Why do you suppose another religion is so terrifying?
I am speaking as a Christian about the Muslim faith. I do not speak for all Christians and all Christians to do not speak for me.
Some of it is demographics. The town where I grew up is 56% white, 22% black, 18% Hispanic / Latino, 1.4% Asian, 2.6% “other”. (Current statistics based on Wikipedia – not my own numbers). I haven’t lived in the town for 15+ years; 20 if you count the years I left for college.
In that town you are Christian or you just don’t go to church. There are no mosques, the Jewish temple closed many moons ago. Now don’t think we just all get along and sing Kumbaya around the campfire – there are over 200 churches in this town of about 80,000. Christians don’t appear to get along with each other anymore than they get along with ‘them outsiders’. So it’s not that I didn’t hang out with kids from other faiths by choice – there just weren’t any to hang out with.
I moved to the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex to attend law school and now I live the suburbia dream. One of my closest friends is Indian and she is Hindu. Through her and others I have met through her, I am learning about that faith. I cannot speak to all the history, but it does not appear to be as controversial of a faith. Maybe Christians just “hate” Muslims more and it’s better press.
This isn’t a new fight. Look up the Crusades to just how long it’s been an US vs. THEM battle.
So what brought about my introspection? Nabra Hassanen. She was 17 years old walking with a group of teenagers to / from eating after prayers during Ramadan when the unthinkable happen. She has been buried now. The debate rages on whether the 22 year old vile swine charged in her murder attacked her because of her faith.
I cannot answer that.
One of the first questions that popped into my head was why was there a group of kids walking around at 4 in the morning? We all know that only bad things happen after 2 am. Was she to blame? Where were her parents? Did she get what was coming to her?
No one deserves that.
But what kind of faith would put a girl in that situation?
I was swiftly jarred from my accusation against the faith when the next story I read was about Mohammed Mahmoud. He is an Imam in London and when an attacker drove through a crowd, he STOPPED THE CROWD from lynching the man and worked together with others to protect the coward until the police arrived. This is not a faith that allows terror to happen. It is incorrectly blamed when it does. We (I) blame an entire group when the fringe goes off-kilter. Both sides are guilty of this. Both sides are covered in sin.
I have seen images where groups of Muslims hold hand around a circle of Christians to allow them to pray. I have seen images where groups of Christians do the same for the Muslims. I want to be brave enough to stand in a circle and protect those who simply want a moment to pray. I am not. Not alone anyways. Even if you don’t believe in anything, would you be brave enough to stand with me?