Do I believe that most mosques today would let recovering alcoholics and drug addicts speak to their congregations? Probably not. Do I think there is a problem with that? Yes, definitely. Our failure to engage diversity in our communities, inclusive of diversity in terms of life experience, leaves us potentially stunted in our individual and communal growth.
For those who missed my last reflection, I had started to discuss the profound impact the 100th chapter of the Quran, Al 'Adiyat, had on me. At a time when I felt quite isolated and confused, I found solace in it like I had never found in the Qur'an before and it helped me to read the Quran in an entirely different way. It helped me to understand the human condition, my own condition, in a deeper way.
If we are at war, it's not a war against Islam. It's a war against hatred in all its forms, including anti-Muslim hatred. We cannot win this war by returning hate for hate, as Angelou so wisely noted. We must fight this war by employing our most powerful weapons: empathy, hospitality, and acceptance of religious diversity.
To further promote better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims as well as people of different skin colors, it is imperative that media outlets highlight Muhammad's anti-racist ethos. Rather than being a divisive figure, Muhammad is an inspiration for those working to rid the world of the evil of racism.