I want to affirm Imam Hassan Selim’s June 3 guest column “A time for connection and spiritual renewal.”
He presented a very balanced and positive view of the Islamic tradition about the month of Ramadan. Who could not have been moved by his explanation of the peaceful character of his faith’s approach both to nature, the earth, peace, and social justice concerns?
Perhaps our common deity’s will for peace and good will among all peoples could not have been better expounded than in the accolades in the news on the event of Muhammed Ali’s death. Those of us who lived through the Vietnam War era, thoroughly appreciating and mourning the sacrifice of the more than 55,000 American soldiers who died there yet questioning the validity of our political leaders’ decisions to send them to such a fruitless war, recall the struggle of so many genuine conscientious objectors whose resistance went unnoticed then and up to the present.
Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest and noted anti-Vietnam war protester who also passed away recently, was moved by Ali’s stance against the war. While many feel that religion is the cause of many military conflicts, I believe that it’s the failure of some people to probe the deep resources of most religions’ peaceful orientation that besmirches the name of religion in our culture. Rather it’s a distorted politics that tends to co-opt religion and manipulate it to favor its ends that corrupts some people’s view of religion.