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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hope arising from terror

The events of the last few days and weeks have - perhaps surprisingly - given me great hope.

I'll ride with you - the hashtag that promoted actions of compassion and solidarity with Muslim people after the Sydney attacks on Lindt Cafe.

World Leaders arm in arm to join the Paris march for unity, solidarity and freedom following the massacres there.

Je Suis Charlie another hashtag that represents solidarity with those murdered at the Charlie Hebdo magazine. While I don't personally know much about the philosophy of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, I don't warm to any publication (or movie) that deliberately makes fun of another race, nation or religion. However, the Je Suis Charlie phrase holds a truth deeper than those promoting it realize. "Love your neighbor as yourself," said Jesus. Your neighbor really is "you" in the interconnected reality of the human family. This is at the core of reaching any peaceful relationship with "others". Whether I agree with their stance on an issue or their religious path - every other person is part of the one body of humanity. We can't even get away with saying I'll love the victims but the terrorists are enemies to be hated. Jesus also said: "Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you."  In our world right now this has a very contemporary meaning. And let's not forget there is a terrorist in each of us - as well as a peacemaker. Even this "neighbor" is "myself".
I am Charlie; I am a Police officer; I am in mourning; I am Jewish

How appropriate that the first week of February is World Interfaith Harmony Week. I haven't been aware of this United Nations' initiated week before. But it was declared by the UN in 2010. Read the site highlighted above to see very helpful insights into how this is celebrated around the world. And let's think about how we in our own corner of the world might honor and extend interfaith harmony that week - and always.