Fear and courage: Ramadan, Islam, and the inner struggle

Fear and courage: Ramadan, Islam, and the inner struggle

When we see the stranger and look on his ways with fear
When our suspicion grows and hatred comes close to hand
Let us know that these others are not the enemy
The enemy is much closer, much more insidious
Much harder to eradicate
Its name is fear
And knowing this can be its undoing
Let us journey toward understanding
Toward compassion
Toward justice
Toward love
 

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Believe in Good

2016 is, for many of us, the year when hopes were dashed that the world would inexorably become more just, more peaceful, and more decent.

In this time of shock - this time of grief - this time of remembrance - we will perhaps begin recognise that the struggle of our time has come - the struggle for what kind of societies we will live in and what kind world we will work to create for future generations. 

The struggle will not be brief. It will not be easy. It will not be completed in our time. It will not be without great sacrifice.

But we cannot give in. We cannot give up on good.

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Surviving Orlando

I wish I could tell you that the path of love is a certain and rapid route to understanding and that with a little more love, flowers will replace guns and bombs everywhere and everyone will get along. We know that’s not true.

But we also know that killing or even demeaning our enemies is not and has never been a reliable path to understanding and tolerance. It provides an outlet for our fury. It may have an effect in the short term. But it leads to even more anger, resentment, and polarisation in the long run. “Us” and “them” become more entrenched, more foreign to one another, and more certain of the “otherness” of their opponents....our love will not stop killing and terrorism today nor will it eradicate the hatred and anger that fuel it. Whilst we can not change today with a snap of our fingers, our love can change the future. Our commitment to compassion and understanding can change the way our children and their children will relate to one another. Our actions today determine the shape of the world in which our children and our children’s children will live.

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