Those of you who know me, know that I am an outspoken advocate for those who practice Islam. Nary a day goes by in which I do not sign a petition or post on behalf of Muslims who are the target of hate speech here or abroad. Those of you who know me well know that I have lost friends and family because of this activism.
Yet it was not always so. I was once ignorant about the Islamic faith and those who practice it. Were it not for some patient souls who provided me with unconditional acceptance on one hand–and the facts about Islam in the other–I would probably have continued in my ignorance. But because these people had the freedom to practice their faith and to tell about their faith, there is one less Islamophobe on this planet.
Conversely, I feel welcomed to share my own journey of faith with my friends. We are free to do so because my friends and I–for the most part–reside in nations which encourage dialogue among people of faith and people of no faith at all.
I have many friends who live in Turkey. Turkey has a population which is 99.0% Muslim–approximately. I never fear discussing matters of faith there. I feel welcomed. When I visit Turkey, I feel the embrace of the Divine. More than tolerance. Unconditional hospitality.
It is not so in every nation. In Iran, an American pastor of Persian descent, Saeed Abedini, has endured torture and imprisonment because of his Christian faith. In treating this man so, the religious authorities in Iran have made themselves enemies of the very Quran they purport to serve. By attempting to force their beliefs upon others, they have mocked the very power of God to change people’s hearts and minds through rational thought and Divine intervention.
It is as if they have forgotten God–as the philosopher Wittgenstein did his umbrella. Like the people of the Prophet Noah’s (pbuh) day, they have forgotten their dependence upon a Higher Power. And now it is raining.
One cannot allow this behavior on the part of those who claim to be True Believers to continue in God’s name. The faith of the innocents crumbles in such an onslaught of abuse. True believers of any faith use reason and unconditional love to win the hearts of skeptics. In doing so, they trust God for the outcome. They trust God. Anything else is not faith. It is power-lust. Those who use religion as a tool for their own power-lust must be outed for what they are–control freaks. Put up your umbrella, folks. Don’t let their abuse rain down on your faith.
Just ask the Roman Catholics. The Iranian authorities’ actions mimic those of the Spanish Inquisition–which caused an image problem from which Catholicism has still not recovered. The Spanish Inquisition was not true Catholicism, nor was it true Biblical Christianity. Likewise, these unjust laws in Iran in no way represent Quranic Islam.
Those of you who are people of faith—for the sake of God—condemn governments everywhere who hijack faith to pursue power. Even your own.
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