this is what islam looks like

this is what islam looks like

i wish all western ppl would read the quran.  i wish that every person in the west would sit down and speak with someone of the islamic faith.  i remember when the boston marathon happened, all i could do when it bombarded the television was close my eyes and hope the hope of the desperate “please don’t be brown!  please don’t be muslim!”  in the united states most ppl believe, even relatively intelligent ppl, think radical islamic groups are the norm in the muslim world, they are true representatives of the faith, but they are not. i think that we need to begin recognizing when things go right and loving actions that occur daily in muslim communities.  

*i have many issues with the us being in pakistan.  i will touch on that in a later post, but what the hell do we expect when we are posted and blowing up neighborhoods, communities, mosques, churches, grocery stores, hospitals, etc with drone strikes?  how are ppl supposed to react to that sort of thing?  should the ppl of pakistan thank us for the human atrocities that we have caused in their country?  



  1. vicbriggs · October 8, 2013

    Dear cakelee vanilla, I was lucky enough to do my undergrad degree in the East End of London, and to have many Muslim colleagues, many of which became friends too. I was lucky, because whilst not religious myself, I had the opportunity to experience first hand how other’s beliefs help them strive to be better themselves as well as being kind and open towards others.
    I share your wish that people did not judge all Muslims through the prism. After all, Christians would also rather not be judged by the example set by their fanatical counterparts; and I believe this to be case for all religious groups.
    I do not think that we need to read the quran or the bible in order to be empathetic to those following these religions, but I do agree that speaking to people of faith, interacting with them, befriending them does help.
    One of the greatest joys I have is volunteering at a charity for immigrant women in London. Most are Muslim, mostly from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The charity helps them learn English and learn more about life in London. We even organise trips to different parts of London, because otherwise most of these wonderful women would only see their neighbourhood. It is great work, and it gives me great fulfilment. I hope that in this little way I am doing my part for integration and unity.
    Thank you for the post. Very thought provoking. x

    • cakeleevannila · October 8, 2013

      in the united states, especially the southern states, there is alot of nastiness and ignorance about most cultures. until recently i attended a uniterian universalist church in the town i live in. one day we had an imam come and speak to us. it made me cry. he spoke with such passion and grace. after his presentation we had a q&a session in which one of the church members asked him “well, if islam is based on this loving philosophy then why are there ppl blowing up our buildings in the name of islam?” i was appalled! the united states and our fundamental christian values (?) have radical groups that do not represent at all what christanity is, like the westboro baptist church, and i doubt very much that christians would like it if they were judged on the actions of such a group. i am not christian so i cannot so for sure, but i would only assume that if i were a christian i would not want to be associated with those nutjobs! also, this was several years back, but it is still quite fresh in my mind, i was at walmart with my kids and exhusband. it was just about 5ish pm and there was a muslim family who began to pray. i smiled, and my sons stopped and listened bc the cadence was so beautiful, but within a minute or two ppl were walking by and spit on this family. spit on them!!!! my jaw dropped and i was stunned! my oldest son started screaming at these ppl to stop, and that jerked me into reality. ted took the boys and i got security. it was horrible. it was embarrassing!
      i personally am a bit obsessed with religious mythology. i think the quran is a beautiful book, and knowing and understanding the basis of a religion, for me, is important to understanding the basic building blocks of a culture-but that is just me, my obsessions. i have studied several different religions, and i find that it helps me when talking to ppl from different backgrounds to understand where their moral base is centered. i, myself, am not religious. i am a unitarian universalist, in the modern use of the term.
      it sounds like your work is fantastic!!! what a wonderful way to spend your time! i am sure the women you are helping appreciate the kindness, time and effort given to them to help acclimate to their new surroundings.

      • vicbriggs · October 8, 2013

        Thank you for such a wonderful and heartfelt reply. The experience you described in the mall is… well… I don’t even have words to describe it. How can people do that and think that it is ok?
        Your interest in the history of religions reminded me of a thinker I have not thought of in a long time. He used to be my favourite writer when I was a teen.
        You may want to read him. I have a feeling you would enjoy his work: Mircea Eliade.
        He was a Romanian historian of religion at the University of Chicago, and a leading interpreter of religious experience. He established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day.
        For example, there is his theory that hierophanies form the basis of religion, splitting the human experience of reality into sacred and profane space and time, which is very interesting and has proved influential.
        The most influential of his contributions to religious studies, however, was his theory of Eternal Return. This holds that myths and rituals do not simply commemorate hierophanies, but, at least to the minds of the religious, actually participate in them.
        If you get a chance to read him, do let me know what you thought of his work.
        Wishing you well.

      • cakeleevannila · October 8, 2013

        i will definitely look into that!!!! thank you so much!

      • vicbriggs · October 8, 2013

        You are very welcome. It was your reply that prompted the memory and I will be very pleased if you find his writing as interesting and engaging as I did. x

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