Last night I was shocked to hear about the attack at the masjid in Quebec city.
Apparently two gunmen went into a masjid during Isha prayers (around 8 pm) and opened fire using automatic weapons.
So far six people have died. Others are still in critical condition.
And this happened after a weekend of protests at airports all over America because Trump banned Muslims from the country and many were stuck in limbo or being deported.
It’s chaos right now.
This morning an old friend emailed me.
He’s a singer and songwriter and he’s worked on programs that promote peace and tolerance in schools for decades!
I worked with him probably about fifteen years ago. There were the three of us, him and a playwright and me, an author, and we were trying to create a play that schools could put on during the winter holiday season as an alternative to the standard Christmas pageant that would be inclusive of all faiths and cultures.
We worked for weeks at a very progressive school downtown!
I must say I learned so very much from both of them.
We ended up putting on a play, but in the end the project itself kind of fizzled. I explained to them that there’s nothing seasonal about Muslim holidays. They really do travel throughout the year and aren’t associated with winter at all.
But…out intentions were good!
Here were two white men, you could say the epitome of white privilege, working as hard as you possibly can, to better society and make a difference among the next generation of young people.
They were sensitive. They were caring. And they accepted me as one of them, completely and without prejudice. And it was the first time in my life that had ever happened.
It would not be the last.
Come to think of it, I’ve almost accepted it as ‘normal’ to be accepted by white men or anyone really. And I wonder if these two friends of mine aren’t the reason for it.
The fact that one was from a Christian background and the other a Jewish background and me a Muslim was seen as a strength, not a liability.
And this morning my Jewish friend reached out to me in solidarity because he was thinking of me.
It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it!
The compassion. The sweet understanding!
I told him that I think God sent them to teach me, early on in my career, so I’d always know that I’m not alone. That there are good, like-minded people, of different races and faiths, out there, that I can work with, that I can ally myself with, in order to work towards the common goal of uplifting the next generation.
Working with children is the most important work you can possibly do!
I believe that now more than ever!
It’s why such a massacre in a house of worship doesn’t destroy me.
Because of their friendships, I can pick myself up, dust myself off, dry my tears and get back to the good work I’m trying to do.
God help the victims of the terrorists in Quebec, and God help all those stranded and affected by Trump’s ban.