Listening to “Curiosity of Assumptions” was a wonderful experience and one I think any person could truly benefit from. I’m amazed to think of what wonderful relationships and friendships NewGround has founded. In my experience interfaith relationships and dialogues usually focus on each side trying to change the other’s mind or trying to prove themselves “right”. It is so refreshing to finally hear people speak of something as incredibly simple as understanding. Let’s not try to beat each other up over who is “right” but instead try to understand one another and empathize with one another and share in each other’s struggles and victories. I think Ms. Hasan made the most important point of all when she said, [y]ou don’t have to give up who you are in order to embrace somebody else”.
I was also stuck by Ms. Hasan’s complete and honest acceptance of the fears that many people still have towards Muslims. I don’t think those fears are irrational, but to blame entire nation of people for the acts of a few is grossly unfair, but also a sad reality that many people face post 9/11. I can see the points on both sides, but the way she handles it and continues to handle it is very impressive. In such heated matters like this, it is often hard for either side to keep a level head. The way she simply faces the issue head on with such grace and acceptance is very admirable. I myself might feel too angry to be so accepting of that sometimes unfair criticism and fear. I might feel resentful for having to constantly explain that my religion does not condone violence.
My hat goes off to those special individual who can put their differences aside and participate in groups like this. I think this is a very good sign that things can and will get better.
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