A rally for peace in Iraq should be a perfect place for a Muslim. Muslims believe in peace. Muslims have been protesting war in Iraq since the beginning of the first Gulf War.
But if Al-Qaeda kills 58 Christians in an Iraqi church, the situation changes.
There was a sizeable, heated rally today in Chicago in response to the massacre of parishioners at Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Church on 10/31/2010. I went to show that Muslims do not support terrorism.
I carried a sign that said, “An Attack on Your Church Is An Attack on My Mosque.” I could divide the reactions I encountered into three groups. One group was puzzled. They figured from my sign and my beard that I’m Muslim. They couldn’t understand why a Muslim would be at this rally. The second group was grateful. People thanked me for being there. The third group was angry.
Liberal artisan that I am, I can see validity in all three perspectives. If you do not know very much about Muslims, you might be puzzled to see them at a rally for peace. But if you know most Muslims love peace and justice, you will welcome them when they stand up for peace. However, if you see all Muslims as part of one terrorist conspiracy, then you might harbor some hatred for them.
No one likes to be hated. It’s definitely not much fun, unless I guess, you happen to be the devil. It’s especially weird to be hated at an event where people are shouting, “Stop the killing! Stop the hate!” But it builds character and I could use some more.