Let’s stick together

I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion. — Yann Martel, Life of Pi

In The Nether­lands, a mem­ber of par­lia­ment, Wilders, has intro­duced a stick­er with a text that insults the Islam, espe­cial­ly the prophet Muham­mad and the Quran. After a peri­od abroad, my tol­er­ance lev­el for Wilders may be a bit low. It makes me sad that some­one can hurt believ­ers in such a cru­el way. I know that every word about this is one too much, so I would like to men­tion three things that have left a pos­i­tive impres­sion on me recent­ly. Instead of a stick­er this blog is about a book, a tv episode and a website.

Abraham's ChildrenThe book is called Abraham’s chil­dren and I read it a while ago. It is edit­ed by Kel­ly James Clark, with con­tri­bu­tions from influ­en­tial thinkers with­in the three Abra­ham­ic reli­gions: Judaism, Chris­tian­i­ty and Islam. They make it clear that the the­ol­o­gy of their reli­gion offers enough space for co-exist­ing with oth­er religions.


We offer these the­o­log­i­cal defences of the mer­cy, respect, and humil­i­ty nec­es­sary to both under­stand and respect those who hold fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent beliefs and prac­tices; this would, in turn, cre­ate safe space for prac­ti­tion­ers of oth­er reli­gions. We are seek­ing with­in our own tra­di­tions pre­cise­ly what is already there – a the­ol­o­gy that moti­vates mer­cy and embraces both human dig­ni­ty and human creatureliness.

Ali BThe tv episode is from the tv pro­gramme 24 Uur Met (a pre­sen­ter and a guest are locked up togeth­er for 24 hours) with Ali B as a guest. He is a Dutch rap­per with a Moroc­can back­ground. He explains how he prays five times a day, ask­ing God for for­give­ness and express­ing grat­i­tude for his life. The cou­ple talks about peo­ple like Assad, who are also Mus­lim, and deter­mine much of the image of Islam because of all the atten­tion they get. Ali can­not under­stand how some­one who ded­i­cates him­self to God five times a day can give the order to kill chil­dren. It has crossed his mind to aban­don his faith because of this, but in the end it is the ‘Assads’ who should quit.

The ques­tion is: Are you a Mus­lim if you don’t func­tion as a Mus­lim? If Mus­lim means ser­vant of the most Mer­ci­ful, and at the moment you are not serv­ing, are you… You know, can you be called a car­pen­ter if you have a diplo­ma but you only bake bread for the rest of your life, or does that make you just a baker?

NieuwemoskeeThe web­site I found this week: Nieuwe­moskee, a Dutch plat­form for dis­cus­sion about the Islam and soci­ety. It shows the diver­si­ty with­in the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty in Hol­land, with a lot of con­tri­bu­tions from young people.