Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Message for Friday - Lack of interaction breeds racism

قال علي رضي الله عنه ـ الناس اعداء ما جهلوا

Imam Ali said, "People are enemies of what they do not know."

One of the branches of ingornace is racism. Ignorance in any subject, of course, can be related to a lack of serious study of a particular subject. Hence, if one has not studied astronomy, a person may not see the value or merits of the science, much less be able to have an intelligent discussion about astronomy. On another level, the ignorance of racism, in many instances, stems from a lack of interaction with another group.

If a person or group of people, for instance, have never interacted with a Indian and have heard and seen nothing but negative depictions of people from India, this ignorance may summon fears and biases against Indians. This also holds true when a person or group of people do not interact with people outside of their religion.

Muslims today suffer discrimination in America, for the most part, because the majority of American society has not and does not interact with Muslims. This obligates Muslims in America to make a greater effort to extend themselves to their co-workers, school mates and neighbors in order that myths and misconceptions about Muslims and Islam can subside in America. The erasure of myths about Islam will alleviate many of the fears that the average American has about Muslims.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ
The Qur'an (49.13) says, "Oh humanity! Surely We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you make know each other [not despise each other]. Surely, the most honorable of you with G'd are those who are the most pious; surely G'd is all-knowing, all-aware."

And surely G'd knows best.

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