Student calls for peace despite religious quarrels

Published: March 17, 2016

Commentary by

CAILIN POTAMI

A video circulated the internet Wednesday depicting a social experiment regarding “Islamophobia.”

In the video, San Diego, California man Dustin Wynn approaches strangers and asks them if they would identify and label Muslim people with a badge for 40 dollars, according to The Independent. Many complied. None pointed to the obvious Nazi associations.

The overall religious climate of the nation is becoming alarmingly divisive and hateful. Presidential candidates have proposed databases of religious identity, threats of carpet-bombing, rejection of refugees and a myriad other threats on the basis of religious intolerance, particularly Islamophobia. As members of a Jesuit institution of higher learning, we must pray, hope, advocate and work toward peace.

Psalm 37:37 asserts, “A future awaits those who seek peace.” The word “Islam” is a derivative of the Arabic word for peace, “salam.” Right now, the future can appear bleak, frightening, and violent. Some people in the public eye have used religion as an excuse to dehumanize and oppress.

As Easter, a time of new life, approaches, citizens of the world have a responsibility to pray for peace, think about peace, talk about peace, write about peace. Work toward solutions. Spring break provides an opportunity to have difficult conversations with family. Be kind but be critical.

When loved ones make intolerant or hateful comments, question them. Discuss Islamophobia, safety for refugees and the importance of intrareligious dialogue.

Some areas at The University that could provide resources for these conversations, a platform for discussion, or answers to tough questions are the Jane Kopas Women’s Center, located in 205F in the Student Forum, the neighboring Multi-cultural center, Campus Ministries, The Center for Service and Social Justice, Catholic Relief Services and the Office of Equity and Diversity.

In addition, students interested in The University’s refugee services can contact Lori Moran in the Center of Service and Social Justice to connect with the Refugee Crisis Committee.

Contact the writer: cailin.potami@scranton.edu

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