What Is Truly Jihad?

Many people think that the word jihad means terrorism, violence, and killing, but that is a not its true meaning to Islam. Please read this excellent post from Amra Ismail to discover what jihad means and how it is lived daily by Muslims around the world.

Muslim-American women seek change from within | National Catholic Reporter

Source: Muslim-American women seek change from within | National Catholic Reporter

I appreciate hearing from these young American Muslim women about their experiences and their faith. Like Sister Christine, I am especially drawn to the centrality of divine mercy which is common to both faith traditions.

Trump is un-American

I would say that Donald Trump has gone too far this time, were it not for the fact that he has gone too far so many times before.

Yesterday, he proposed that no Muslims be allowed to enter the United States, even if they are US citizens, or tourists, or diplomats, or refugees, or young children, or US military personnel.

Apparently, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who became the first Muslim in Congress in 2007. wouldn’t be allowed to drive back into the US if he traveled across his state’s border into Canada. Would Trump try to have him removed from his seat?

The United Nations would have to re-locate, as many of its Ambassadors are Muslim.

Muslim members of our military deployed overseas would not be allowed to then post back to the US or to come home on leave.

He has also said that all Muslims in the US would need to register as Muslims and that mosques would be surveilled.

It is ridiculous and against our values as a country.

This flies in the face of our Constitution, which promises free exercise of religion.

It harks back to some of the shameful actions of the United States during World War II, when Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were interred in camps based only on their ethnicity, along with some Italian- and German-Americans in the East.

The only positive aspect of this is that leaders across the political spectrum are publicly condemning Trump for this viewpoint.

It is hard to say whether or not Trump’s supporters will leave his camp over this.  Many of them are scared and believe that Trump would protect them by this action.

I can only say that Trump’s supporters are a very small proportion of the population. With so many candidates in the Republican primary, having 30% support looks like a large percentage, but because Republicans are only a fraction of all US citizens, it only equals about 8% of the voters in the United States, some of whom may not support all of Trump’s platform.

To Mr. Trump, I say, “NO!”

Just NO.

 

Hope for the climate

This week, the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change was announced, calling for Muslims around the world to phase out use of fossil fuels and switch to renewable forms of energy.

This follows on the heels of the June release of Laudato Si’, the encyclical issued by Pope Francis on the environment, climate change, and care of creation, including humanity. The encyclical draws deeply not only on climate science but also on the tenets of peace, love, mercy, caring, and justice that underlie many different world religions and philosophies. Francis intended this document for the world’s Catholics and “all people of good will” whether or not they follow a religious/spiritual practice.

Faith leaders from other spiritual and religious traditions, including the Dalai Lama, have also voiced their concerns on combatting climate change and environmental degradation.  The People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014 brought people from all corners of the globe together in solidarity to demand action on measures to reign in the greenhouse gases that are already wreaking havoc on our climate and people’s lives.  Various governments have made pledges to cut emissions and convert to renewable energy sources, all as a lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, November 30-December 11, 2015.

Past conferences have been disappointing, as countries could not demonstrate the political will needed for the huge change in energy systems required, but, this time, finally, there is hope, due in large measure to the diverse voices demanding or pleading for change.

I have spent years in the grassroots movement to ban high volume hydrofracking in New York State, which drew me into the fight against fracking in other states, as well as promoting the rapid expansion of renewable energy in order to stop using fossil fuels as soon as possible.  This led me to not only being involved in the climate movement but also to being more open to expressing calls for climate justice, environmental justice, and social justice in keeping with my Catholic faith.

There were many times when I thought we had lost the fight against fracking here in New York (and we are still involved in some issues with it, despite the current regulatory situation). There were even times when I had no hope left, but we did ultimately prevail.

There have been times when I had no hope that meaningful action against global climate change would materialize, but, seeing so many disparate groups of people come together to demand climate action gives me hope.

The years of inaction have put us in a precarious situation. Demand climate action now! Contact the government agency in your country and tell them they must reach an effective accord in Paris.

The world can’t afford to wait.