THE REV. WILLIAM W. MCDERMET III, Christian Church (Disciples of Christs), retired: Jews, Christians and Muslims are all a part of the Abrahamic tradition; yes, the same Abraham found in Genesis in the Old Testament.
He is the “exalted father” of all three religious traditions. That understood relationship might make us cousins, a couple of hundred times removed.
We need to stop generalizing, and get rid of the idea that all Muslims are related to terrorist activity. Violence is a human problem, not a religious one.
Five members of a Rotary International Club in Pakistan — two women and three men, all Muslims — visited a Rotary club where my wife and I were members. I was asked to give the prayer before the meal. After much meditation, I came up with this:
“God of compassion and hope for all humankind, we thank you for creating us and guiding us in all situations that come our way. Receive our prayers for our Rotary friends from Pakistan, and may they be guided safely back to their homes.
“Wherever we go, may truth, fairness, good will and friendship continue to be a part of our living every day. O God, wherever we live in your world, may that community be a good place to live because as individuals and clubs we have placed service above self. Amen.”
On that day we simply met and enjoyed getting to know other humans in our/God’s world.
In a March/April issue of “Nebraska Live,” writer Matthew Spencer wrote an article entitled “Islam in Nebraska — Muslims find welcoming neighbors.” His opening reflection is that some of the several million Muslims in America endure stereotypes and harassment, but in Nebraska, where Christian faiths blanket every community, Muslims are welcomed warmly into the fabric of the state and especially in Omaha.
Consider the experience of Maisha Godarae following the shocking horrors of 9/11. She and another woman were dressed in traditional Muslim clothing when they shopped in a grocery store.
Strangers kept smiling and nodding at them. She was bewildered at first, and then it was all as clear as a prairie sunrise.
“They were just trying to say in a Nebraska way that we know you weren’t responsible, that it doesn’t represent Islam.”
What about us, we who live in the greater Kansas City area? Can we have as much hospitality, kindness, support and compassion for others, as do those Nebraska folks? I believe we can!
William W. McDermet III lives in Raymore.
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