A video mocking the Prophet Muhammad goes viral.
Angry Muslims protest in the street their images splashed across the television screen. And I sit here reading Eboo Patel‘s new book Sacred Ground.
In it I come across this sentence which I underlined before turning the page.
“For Iman Feisal, the great fault line is not between Americans and Arabs or Muslims and Christians. It is between the moderates of all traditions and the extremists who belong to only one – the tradition of extremism.”
I think the Iman is right.
The very narrow voice of extremism is picked up and amplified either because of the extremists willingness to resort to violence or because the loud, angry voices are the ones that make the news. While the rest of us, of whatever faith tradition or no faith tradition, do the hard work of raising our families, sustaining our relationships, doing our job well and making our communities a better place not just for us, but for all.
After all, we are neighbors to each other.
We watch what is happening, but most of the time we don’t speak up.
Either because we tell ourselves we are too busy or we don’t want to get involved or we don’t want to “stir the pot” any more than it is already stirred.
But, I think the time for being silent is past.
Somehow people like me need to find ways to have our voices heard.
We need to create a large enough circle that we can turn the tide of peer pressure back in the direction of tolerance and respect and civility and inclusion and understanding so that the power of extremism becomes muted and reabsorbed in the larger community.
I can picture what needs to be done.
I can imagine it.
Now all I need is to find a way and the courage to do it.