If a book is meaningful I will read it more than once. Every year since it was first published in 1965, I have reread James A. Michener’s historical novel, “The Source.”
Michener was a genius at weaving a tale, and this one is woven around an archaeological dig at Tell Makor. The book is a history of the Jewish people with chapters written around artifacts found at various levels of the Tell. Between chapters, Michener brings the reader to the dig itself, a joint effort led by Jews, Muslims and Christians to uncover biblical history.
All three of the world’s great religions worship the same deity. The message of the book – with Jew and Muslim and Christian at the Tell discussing efforts to coexist in the world - is as fresh today as it was 45 years ago.
Last night I read a guest post on “Diversity Ink” – a post written by my friend and fellow blogger Sue and titled “Insensitivity or Bigotry?”
To be honest, the brouhaha over an Islamic community center, to be situated along with adult bookstores and massage parlors two blocks from the site of the 9/11 tragedy, has worn itself thin with me.
But Sue put a new light on it by focusing on the imam at the center of the controversy. She quotes both Walter Isaacson, a great writer who has written biographies of great Americans, and former President George W. Bush:
Isaacson, founder of the nonpartisan Aspen Institute: "Imam Feisal has participated at the Aspen Institute in Muslim-Christian-Jewish working groups looking at ways to promote greater religious tolerance. He has consistently denounced radical Islam and terrorism and promoted a moderate and tolerant Islam. Some of this work was done under the auspices of his own group, the Cordoba Initiative ... This is why I find it a shame that his good work is being undermined by this inflamed dispute. He is the type of leader we should be celebrating in America - not undermining."
President Bush after 9/11: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war." Bush spoke these words at an Islamic center in Washington, D.C. He told the gathering and America, American Muslims "need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect."
After reading Sue’s post, I had an email exchange with a Florida friend about the “preacher” who plans a burning of the Quran on 9/11. If anything will bring this country down, it won’t be a threat from outside extremists, but from fools such as this guy. Imagine, if you will, an American imam planning an event to burn the Holy Bible. Where is the outcry against such insanity?
Fortunately, it has come at last. On Tuesday, “a broad coalition of Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders denounced what they described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry across the United States.” (LINK)
Only then, did the NYC imam break his silence in a NYT op-ed piece published last night – “Building on Faith.” Read his words HERE.
TV ALERT: CNN's Soledad O'Brien has an exclusive interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf tonight at 9 ET on "Larry King Live."
This country – my country, your country – is caught in a vortex of ignorance, narrow-mindedness, hatred and bigotry.
Listen to Rudyard Kipling:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …” then, and only then, can The United States of America be saved from destruction within.
UPDATE: Imam on "Larry King Live"