Protecting Muslim Neighbors
Our Muslim neighbors are among several groups of Americans suffering anxiety and feeling threatened these days. So it is heartening to hear news of non-Muslims expressing solidarity with them. A “Protect Our Muslim Neighbors” rally took place in Denver on February 4. The Denver Post report focused on a Moroccan family and Somali immigrants who live in Denver. Moroccan Mohamed Mouadane brought his 7-year-old daughter to the event so that she could learn about her 1st Amendment rights, and to see that she can share opinions without fear.
On January 30th, a Jewish and a Muslim family who had never met joined a protest against the recent immigration ban at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The two fathers lifted their children onto their shoulders and the children, a Jewish girl and a Muslim boy, encountered each other in a photo that went viral. The Chicago Tribune tells the story of this encounter and includes the photo.
Farther afield, in Canada, Jews and Christians formed “rings of peace” around Canadian mosques on the first Friday after a shooting at a Quebec mosque on January 29.
What Is Your Calling?
A great hope and challenge of our time is to learn to extend the love and respect we demand within spiritual communities beyond them. Our ecumenical Franciscan friend Gary Nabhan recently wrote about how important it is for Christians to understand “church” to include not just members of “my” denomination, “but a healthy functioning human community nested in our earthly home.” In order to follow the Franciscan calling to “repair the community,” we need to include both ecology and the economy, “which has become destructive on so many fronts that it is disrupting the ecology of our planet—the relationships we have with the other-than-human world.”
Nabhan points out that if the “church” includes everyone, and if our global community needs repair, then we all share a “Franciscan” vocation. He accepts that we can’t all be “activists.” Be we each need to ask how we may help repair our planet and our relationships:
What am I asking of you: to take seriously the question of what YOUR CALLING might be. Is it to repair old homes for the poor or dilapidated schools and churches? Is it to reform our government and our religious institutions? Is it to reduce waste polluting our streams and landfills, restore wildlife habitats or the regenerative capacity of our streams, farms, orchards and ranchland? Is it to help heal those stuck in our hospitals, asylums, prisons and nursing homes? Now is the time to figure out what your personal role will be for the next four years in repairing our home: I don’t care which task you choose, but take out your saw, your hammer, your garden trowel, your guitar, your suture thread and needle, and repair our house … to a healthy order!
That’s a tall order, but most people I know who take a stab at it are joyful and radiant. Here at the Desert Foundation, we are aware of the new political context that makes our commitment to Abrahamic reconciliation more important than ever. And we want to emphasize the positive, the graced, the luminous, the “silver linings” in this dark time.