Updated: Dec 22, 2019
So I want to go off-topic today and write about something which moved me on Sunday, related to current affairs. Not my usual area. Outside Sunday, before we went into Mass, I saw a group of people standing outside the doors holding small placards with writing on. I assumed that they might be refugees from our Parish, as I'd heard about the need for people to teach English to the people from Syria who had come over recently and were staying with us. Anyway, that's by the by. Michael and I went up to them and we saw that they were from the local mosque and they were holding signs like 'we stand with you', 'our prayers are with you' and 'there is no faith in terrorism' (this was just after the attack on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka). I was very moved. Firstly, I thought it was brave of them to do it and, secondly, what then happened was that a lady from Sri Lanka started to talk to them. It transpired that her church was one of the group of churches destroyed - and that she'd lost a friend. And knew hundreds of people affected or injured. She was from the town where the attacks had taken place.
I found myself welling up as the two women - the parishioner from Sri Lanka and the lady from the mosque - got talking. One hugged the other; it was powerful. They said it was just a 'small gesture' and 'the least they could do' but I thought it was more powerful than any article I could have read in a newspaper debating the real message of Islam or questioning the number of peace-loving Muslims.
My knowledge of Islam remains limited, but I am convinced that the way of healing is the human face of mutual respect, no matter the size of the gesture.