The meeting started as usual with Aziz Abu Sarah talking about his understanding of prayers, and how some prayers count more than others. He talked about how prayers taught him have a true and continuous connection with God, hence having a 5 prayers.
Noura, Feras and Basit thought that many of these prayers lose their spiritual meaning for many muslims and become more like a tradition of an obligation that they have to do, while Feras agree it teaches a great discipline but sometimes we shall give a higher emphasis on the meaning of our actions.
Aziz Abu Sarah talked about Fasting and how fasting taught him to have a greater empathy with the poor, he reflects on his childhood during Ramadan with big feasts and great family vibes. Basit, Noura and Feras agrees that Ramdan has a very special vibe, but many muslims stopped reflecting on the meaning of Fasting and ending up being less productive, hungry all day and not very compassionate with the poor. They have reflected on how many of our rituals with time lose it is spiritual meaning and becomes like and obligation that has to be done.
Kelly James Clark mentioned a story in his chapter take off your blinkers, he talked about two south African kids who had to travel 300 kms to inform their mother, who works as maid for a wealthy white family, that their baby sister is sick. Feras and Basit talks strongly how we are living in a world of extreme inequality, Feras believe that he has taken his good share of racism and talked about his work with group if young people from Africa who wanted to help solving the educational crisis during COVID19. Unfortunately Feras story did not reach the news, instead the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a white police office was spreading all over the news and riots of black lives matter movement controlled the scene.
Sid, talked about that how one of the protesters caught looting on Camera from one of his friends shops and he posted that on facebook in a sign of pride and lack of shame. He talks about one disorder happens, many bad people will try to utilize the situation in outrageously unethical way.
In his 2nd Chapter Kelly talks about some of the perceptions that many young people have about Christianity, he does not address those perception in a state of self-denial, rather he talks about some of the horrible things that has happened under a Christian label, he talks about that Iraq crusade had tragic consequences. Thousands of Iraqi children were killed as a result of collateral damage. He demand that Christians should be asking where are the meek and the merciful? Where are the peacemakers?
In her Chapter getting to know Zulikha, Nancy find a new narrative to the story of Zulika and Joseph (Yusuf). She talks that hearing many narratives for the story helped her to forge a bond with Zulika. She talks about how interfaith learning helped her seeming many versions of the same story.
In her 5th Chapter in the book she talks about what she had learnt from Muslims and Christians, she talked about how she learnt from Christians how our religions evolve in relationship to others. She also talks that she has learnt from Muslims the importance of head garb and sometimes that many people fear to wear their identity with pride and how putting her Kippah has become a ritual act.
This was a rich discussion from the nine humans, there are many recommendation to be give for a global compassionate identity, we leave you with the ones that are more relevant.
Recommendations and Guidelines for a compassionate global identity
- Learning about different religious rituals and the meaning of those rituals equip you with a great understanding of “the other” which will put you on path of compassion and tolerance.
- Knowing that some stories might have different explanation, might also put you in a place of greater understanding and greater compassion.
- Sometimes we need to take off our blinkers and see the world from the eyes of the others, this will help understand people in a new way and develop a greater sense of acceptance.
- Sometimes being in a state of self-denial is the worst thing you can do to bring people together, rather it might be admitting once mistakes and forging a path for compassion and tolerance.