Woodland Democrat (Clergy Corner) – January 14, 2012
Stirring up one another to love and do good works
By KHALID SAEED
The New Year has just started and most of us make New Year resolutions. According to honorable Dalai Lama one way to get good karma is to once a year go some place you have never been before. I think in this respect this good karma field could be expanded to few other areas as well where we have not traveled before.
Like getting to know our neighbors whom we never met despite living side by side for months and perhaps for years. Also looking at things and issues differently than as we have always looked.
Since I am associated with the Woodland Mosque, I would like to talk in that context. Whenever Woodland Mosque organizes an interfaith or intra-faith event, I ask the folks to meet at least one person we have not met before and get to know each other. I believe that this approach will not only builds individual relationships better but helps the community at large.
In his comments at the last annual community peace picnic sponsored by the Woodland Ecumenical Ministries, Pastor Larry Love of Woodland Christian Church made a very heartwarming observation. He said that since the Muslim community and the other faith communities in Woodland have been interacting together on regular basis on different occasions over the years, we know each other and as a result there are very good peaceful relations among the people of all faiths.
It is said that a loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. Live a good, honorable life, and then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time. If we expand it from home to our homeland there is much more work left for all of us to do and make our homeland a great place for all.
The negative forces from all side are always working hard to achieve their goals by spreading negativity and hate. Right on the second day this year. Molotov cocktails made from glass bottles were hurled at three sites in Queens, including a mosque with 100 people inside, a Hindu Temple and a bodega.
Why this presumably hate crime happened? Maybe because of constant Muslim-bashing from certain groups with specific agenda. In this respect it may be appropriate to point out that the New York attacks came less that one month after a group called the Florida Family Association took the lead in starting an advertiser boycott of the TLC's reality television show "All-American Muslim" because in the show they see clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society," according to Edward Bernays, the man behind the idea that American war efforts in the 'First World War' were meant to 'bring democracy to Europe.' Bernays was also behind the philosophy that the choices people make can easily be influenced because they are not rational but emotional. "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."
I firmly believe that the rich diversity in our homeland of our people, thinking, and talent has been a key to our success and made this nation strongest in the world. Recognizing and valuing the many differences that make us who we are is vital to American culture. This diversity includes more than the obvious traits, like nationality, culture, race, religion and gender. Our diversity also encompasses many differences that are not so easily seen, such as life experiences, sexual orientation and family situations.
The other night while coming back from San Francisco gave me a great lesson in happiness. The car in front of me did an unsolicited act of kindness and not even knowing who was behind them paid my bridge toll. All I could do then was just flash my lights to thank them while they were driving away, but now I do the same sometimes and every time I am sure not only I give the people in car behind me something to smile, but it makes me very happy as well.
While forces of hate are working hard, we should learn from the Bible, Hebrews 10:24," And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." The forces of good must stick together, stand up and be vocal against hate and fear mongering.
Khalid Saeed is National President of American Muslim Voice and Director of Woodland Islamic Center.