Friday, August 06, 2004

Ignorance & Intolerance -- The Seeds of Destruction

Unfortunately, a friend of mine picked the wrong e-mail petition to forward to me. The gist of the e-mail was that we should boycott the Eid holiday stamp offered by the US Post Office because of the numerous murderous assaults on Americans by Muslims. (Eid is a Muslim holiday.) Apparently, the issuers of this e-mail didn't realize this stamp has been out for some time.

To assume that mainstream Islam has bloody hands just because of the deeds of some of their fundamentalist brethren is like blaming mainstream Christianity for the Crusades. Any time someone suggests boycotting an entire religion based on the deeds of a few, I get upset.

It appears that whoever sent the email didn't do their homework. If you've got an open mind, check out: ( -- a website that tells precisely what the celebration of EID is all about.

To quote the a portion of the site's contents:
"Each 'Eid is a Day of peace.

When a Muslim establishes peace within his heart by obeying the Law of Allah and leading a disciplinary life, he has certainly concluded a most invioble treaty of peace with Allah.

Once a person is at peace with Allah, he is at peace with himself and, consequently, with the rest of the universe.

So when he celebrates the 'Eid in the right manner, he is actually celebrating the conclusion of a Peace Treaty between himself and Allah, and this marks the 'Eid as a Day of Peace.

That is the proper meaning of an Islaamic 'Eid: a Day of Peace and Thanksgiving, a Day of forgiveness and moral victory, A Day of Good Harvest and remarkable Achievements, and a Day of Festive Remembrance. An Islaamic 'Eid is all this and is much more; because it is a Day Of ISLAAM, a Day of Allah."

When you look at the meaning of Eid, it could be suggested we all need to do the same in our lives, each in our own way and within our own particular religious tradition. Offering thanks to G*d, asking for forgiveness, giving alms to the poor and seeking peace are not unholy acts. On the contrary, they are the cornerstones of all of the major religions.

Now lest you think I'm all rosy eyed here, I'm not. I'm keenly aware that a certain number of fanatics would cheerfully cut my throat or blow me to bits because of my religion and my nationality. I think about it every time I fly in the US and overseas. I'm an American and a Jew. I'm a target. That's the reality. On the other hand, I refuse to demonize an entire religion because of a small band of murderous bastards who circumvent the laws of Islam to their own ends. I repudiate them just as I will repudiate those who murder in the name of Christianity or any other religion, Judaism included.

What we need to do is address those who would kill us, not the ones with whom we have no quarrel. Being ignorant is no excuse. Do your homework, understand why other people worship in different ways, why they act differently. It is the only way we're going to stay alive as a species.

If you insist on labeling everyone else the enemy, in the end you will stand alone.


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