Recent events in New Zealand and Sri Lanka remind us that horrifying violence in the name of religion continues to plague us. As Muslims throughout the world prepare to celebrate the holy season of Ramadan (beginning May 6), these terrible incidents emphasize the need to recognize and understand the deep spiritual meaning of Ramadan, with its emphasis on patience and mercy as exemplified by the practice of fasting.
The following reflection, written by Vashon resident Safa Jneidi, expresses the important principles that guide those who follow Islam:
As-salaam alaikum. This is the greeting of Islam. It means Peace be upon you.
All my life and every day, I have heard this greeting. It is a wish for the other to be blessed with peace. That is what it means to be a Muslim.
As we grow up, Muslims learn that Islam requires respect and care for others. It is a religion of mercy, tolerance, and brotherhood.
As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.”
God created us to stand beside each other. God created us to protect each other. God created us on one earth under one heaven to get to know each other and support each other. History, geography and a common future bind us together.
Together we can build the foundations of mutual respect that will ensure the common benefit of future generations.
May we join together to encourage the growth of tolerance and understanding in our community during Ramadan and throughout the year.
— Susan Doerr