Ten years ago yesterday, many people throughout the world will forever remember where they were when two planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
For many, especially those who are Muslim, the event’s repercussions haven’t been easy. To be a visible minority isn’t easy in the first place, let alone one that is being blamed, generally, as a whole.
“The Dalai Lama is warning that all religions – including his own – have followers who carry the seeds of destructive emotions within them,” notes an article in The Western Star. “The Buddhist spiritual leader said one way to strengthen harmony in the post-9-11 world is to stop criticizing religions based on the actions of a handful of ‘mischievous’ faithful.”
This is wise advice, since criticizing groups – and not only religious ones – based on a handful of people happens constantly.
Let’s look at youth as an example. This is a large group that is unfortunately often perceived a certain way because of a handful who spoil things for the peers. All youth graffiti buildings, cause noise disturbances in public places, are disrespectful to elders and skip school. Not! A handful of youth might do some of these things.
Should the entire group be gazed at suspiciously? Should the entire group be banned from malls and community parks in case of vandalism?
Imagine walking down a street or standing in line in an airport and being looked at with a negative suspicion for being Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or Anglican or Catholic.
The answer, then, to creating harmony in the post-9-11 world is to stop criticizing groups based on the actions of a few. Let’s include not only religious groups, but also all groups.
While the answer to avoiding another 9-11 might not be simple, a good start is to think seriously about the Dalai Lama’s words.
Though I don’t know who said them, I also like these words, “Ignorance breeds fear. Fear breeds hate. Hate breeds violence.”