While American Sunni and Shia Muslims may not be in conflict with each other openly, they are not truly united either. If they became more unified they could do much more to bring peace to troubled parts of the world.
As a child in Ireland, I would occasionally see a particular type of angel standing beside a person. I was told that these were these were American gathering angels, a powerful force of angels that had been created to gather people of all nationalities and all religions and bring them to America. I have been seeing angels since I was a baby. I see them physically as I see someone sitting in front of me and I see them every day. This may sound very strange, even crazy to you, but I have no idea why I am able to see angels and you aren't. I'm just an ordinary person.
The American gathering angels were created, I was told, because America has a special role to play in the future of the world -- that a lot of the solutions that will lead to world peace are meant to come from America.
Muslims have been gathered over the years from different countries and different strands of Islam to America. If Muslims who have come to America can unify, can leave behind their historic and outdated baggage and become one, they will send out a powerful sign to Muslims living in other parts of the world. They will provide an example by living together in peace side by side.
America is a country of enormous power, and I am continually told by the angels that it is from the United States that so many of the solutions to the world's problems will come. When American Muslims unify, they will be in a position to influence American policy much more. American Muslims can provide a unique perspective on global challenges, but only if they are united. As a united force they need to be actively engaged in helping the American leadership to find solutions for world peace.
Coming from Ireland, I am very aware of the devastation that can be caused by divides between different strands of the one religion. In Northern Ireland's case, Christianity experienced this with Protestants and Catholics killing each other.
I was very happy, therefore, when Nobel Peace Prize Winner Betty Williams, joined me in New York last month at a prayer event to pray for Unity among Muslims. You can see an edited video of the event in the Sufi Mosque in New York here.
Betty Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for bringing ordinary men and women -- Protestants and Catholics -- out on to the streets of Northern Ireland to say no to violence, and in doing so to learn just how much they had in common with each other. The courageous work of Betty Williams, her Nobel Peace Prize colleague Mairead Corrigan and the Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland was the beginning of the peace process which ultimately led to peace (even if it's fragile at times) in Northern Ireland.
I have always been told by the angels that Northern Ireland is a cornerstone of peace for the world -- that if Northern Ireland can do it, then other parts of the world can. All areas of conflict have their own peculiarities, and their own unique histories -- Northern Ireland is not Syria, Afghanistan or Lebanon. But peace comes about when people come to understand each other and realize how much they have in common, when people put aside their historic baggage and conditioning, and decide to put their children and their children's children first. When they decide to conquer hate and allow love in.
People who put their differences aside, recognize what they have in common and decide to build a better future for their children are not weak; on the contrary, they are very strong and are a beacon of hope for all of us. American Muslims are being called upon to be such a beacon of hope at this time.