Justice, Compassion and Peace

 On Thursday evening, Sept. 27 the Gabriola Ecumenical Society was very pleased to have Dr. Ghazi Farooq as our guest speaker.  He was accompanied by his wife Janet and Tracey, Secretary Treasurer of the Nanaimo Islamic Center.  In our ongoing programme to foster an interfaith dialogue and better understanding of each other Dr. Farooqga delivered a talk, followed by a discussion, on the nature and practice of Islam.  It was an exceptionally good and informative evening.

The time has come, in our world which is ever shrinking, to open the avenues of understanding with all of our human brothers and sisters.  The time for ignorance and the dangers it poses should be put behind us.  Our very continuance as a human race is in real and serious question.  If we do not work together we will surely die together either in conflict or in the very struggle to survive.

Much of what we hear of Islam is not unlike many of our own Christian beliefs.  In fact when we get down to a level of understanding we find out that the foundation of not only Islam but of all the world’s great faiths is a desire for both justice and compassion.  Of course Islam like Christianity has its extremists on both ends of the scale.  This extremism does not just exist within Islam.  All of the world’s great faiths including Christianity have this problem and this can, if we let it, prevent us from not only understanding all of our human family but allow for the rise of hatred and conflict.

That which we often hear on the radio and see on television concerning Islam is misleading us in understanding its true nature.  Dr. Farooq presented many points that we have been misled about and using the Qur’an clearly showed how we have been misled.  True Islam is not just a Friday faith but was meant to be a way of life every bit as much as Christianity was intended to be. What this means is that one’s religious faith becomes and integral part of ones daily life.  One lives the faith 24 hours a day.  With this view it was pointed out that one is not a practicing or non practicing Muslim.  There is no such thing.  One is either a Muslim or not.  The faith properly practiced becomes a positive force within the society where all are treated equally and with the respect to which all people are entitled.  This is quite nicely explained in the phrase “walking the talk”.  Any faith can become a source of suspicion when it is preached and not practiced.  It is then usually seen as a detrimental force instead of the positive force it could be.

Islam worships the same God as Christians and Jews.  While we refer to the divine as God they use the name Allah as do other eastern Christians.  The Islamic understanding is that there is only one God the Almighty.  The true Muslim seeks only to submit to God, promote justice and compassion and live in peace with the rest of the human family.

We give our thanks to Dr. Farooq for his most enlightening presentation and wish the peace of God/Allah on all of our brothers and sisters.