What a Word can create…

I had planned something lighter for today but I am used to write with the first feeling and my feeling today is please stop spreading words that kill.
I explain myself. I read an article on a blog last week and I was quite shocked by the words the author used. Maybe the intention was correct but the impact it had on me was “how can we treat people whose ideas or beliefs differ from us this way“. 
We all have our ideas and we all have the freedom to express them. We agree or we don’t. That the way it is. But we should always remember words have impact, words spread love but also hate, words can turn somebody’s world upside down, words have power. And if we look at the world major conflicts we can see it.

We are all born in different parts of the world but we all one, all  created by the same hand, the hand of God, whatever name you have been raised to call him. It is not because some say Yahweh or Allah or God that this makes a difference.

Do you know what one word can change, what one word can create? We see enough hate around the world, crimes and wars in a name of a God who only ask us to love him. 
It is very easy to put hate in someone’s mind. Many do it very well. 

What do you think happen when all your life you heard X had taken your land, your life, X is a liar, Y is a bad person and deserves this or that………………….when somebody will tell you “now it’s time to clean the place”, you will go in the streets and you will kill your neighbor, you might even kill people from your own family if their point of view differs from yours, because you think it’s good and you won’t have any regrets. You will feel like a hero even with blood on your hands. 

This is what a word can create

Right and wrong, good and bad are merely concepts. We all agree some acts are immoral, dangerous and disrespectful. But from place to another, from one situation to another, these concepts will have a different meaning.

Stop trying to show you are better than others. Nobody is better. Everybody tries. 
The most amazing people have walked the earth, with humility. They have not walked at the top of the mountain to say “I am the best, follow me”. They have walked the earth spreading love, showing others the way.

On a religious point of view, as the article on the blog was about this, in less than 6 weeks it is Christmas. For some of people, Christmas is not a celebration, and that’s fine. 

But please respect others confessions. Please stop saying that because we don’t practice your religion we are “enemies of God”. I don’t feel because my heart is in balance between two religions I am an enemy to God. I don’t think God sent this message on earth or ask us to judge the way others practice.
Maybe some have forgotten they were born in a part of the world when you bent down in Mosques to give thanks. Others kneel in churches and celebrate the birth of Jesus. That doesn’t make any of them bad people, they just have been raised this way. There are many paths that take us to God.

Please respect their beliefs and traditions. As they would respect your beliefs and traditions. I will always remember something Jesus (PBUH) said:”Love your neighbor as yourself”. He did not say: “Love your neighbor only if he is christian and white or only if he goes to church or help others”. 

Please remember some are doing an amazing and beautiful job talking about religion in peace, some are writing, doing their best, praying for spreading love. 
We remember seeing Christians families hiding and saving Jews children during the Second World War, Muslim families rescuing Christians ones during the Genocide in Rwanda, Jews and Muslims playing together, the 3 religions praying at the same place at the sane time in Jerusalem not so long ago. 

All of them are models to follow. Stop ruining their work. They don’t deserve it. 

I think I will always remember the Imam who married us saying to my husband “Christmas is a special time for your wife, go with her in Church”. And to me “the end of Ramadan is a special time for your husband go with him to the Mosque”. He did not say ” you should not marry her, she is an enemy of God”. 
He told us he did a speech in a Church on Christmas last year. He told us all the members of the different confessions would meet often to talk about the aspects of religion in people’s life and how to help people understand and accept the diversity. 
He really helped me see things differently.

An advice, walk your path the best way you can, look at you in the mirror and start loving who you are, it will help you to love others and stop spreading words that have a terrible impact in today’s world, it is not what the world needs. Mind your tongue and ask God for guidance.
Answer disrespect by respect or hate in the world will never disappear. 

You don’t have to agree with me, I don’t have to agree with you but let’s respect each others choices and ideas. As long as these choices and ideas don’t corrupt the world, we are safe.

Let’s remember we are human beings.
Let’s remember God loves us.
Let’s remember LOVE is all there is for a world to find its way back to God. 

Respect starts with little things!

Respect is an important word and idea, but it starts with little things really. If respect is not applied at home, in your workplace or with people you meet everyday, how can we expect respect to be for larger issues and at a world level.

It popped up into my mind yesterday evening on my way back home.

These are just examples. But I am sure you will see behind the lines and be able to take it every day with you. It’s good to think about ourselves but we don’t live on a desert island with nothing, nobody, no life around. We live with people and things, with nature and animals. 

  • I have a course on Tuesday night and usually takes the bus home late, around 10pm. At this stage I am pretty tired and looking forward being home. My head is full of information, not talking about the 8 hours work I have behind me too. On the bus they were some people chatting and listening to the radio. The sound was very loud and the music was something between R’nB and Dance. Definitely not something I was enjoying.
You want to listen to music, that’s ok, at least think about others lives and musical tastes, and drop the volume. It’s very simple.
  • Near home, they are doing some buildings on the road. People work at night in order not to disturb our daily routine, so that everybody can go to work without too much delay the following day. They might have children and wives at home, friends they would like to see or just enjoy a good movie in front of the TV. Instead they work to make our lives a bit better.
You are going home at 11pm and there are delays. Stop honking because the queue does not move. It is not going to move faster – the lights are red! Please think one second some people are sleeping at 11. So remain patient, in this case it’s the only thing you can do.

  • There are bins everywhere in Dublin City Center. Some men woke up at 5am to clean the streets as you still enjoy some sleep and get ready to go to work, so when you do your shopping you are not disturbed.
Their Job is to empty the bins and take the garbage away. It is not to pick up what you have left behind by laziness or worse carelessly. It takes 5 seconds to walk to the next bin. It helps keep your city clean and make the work of these men less exhausting. 
  • At work, we are 8 people. We have a small kitchen and always plates and cups not washed, waiting there. We have a fridge in which you would not like to put anything. We have post coming every single day. And it looks like we are waiting for somebody to do it. We also have a cleaning lady.
Wash your cup takes 2 minutes. 
Wash the toilets when they are dirty takes 2 minutes and seems the normal thing to do. 
Open the post when your colleague is out of the office will help him/her not having 50 letters to open when he/she will be back. 
Empty the bin before things drop out doesn’t kill. 

Same, as above, the cleaning lady is helping you to maintain the place clean, she is not there to clean up your mess. If you don’t wash your stuff at home, fine, at work you are sharing the space, you have to make a little effort. 

At the end it’s small actions that make the difference:

Respect your husband busy day by preparing the diner.
Respect your wife’s day with the children by taking them out for a little while or proposing to give them the bath.
Give your seat in the bus to a person in need.
Smile to a beggar in the street (Even if his lifestyle does not match your ideas, he deserves respect too).
Remain patient in the queue (the lady at the counter does her best).
Try as best as possible to keep your voice low and your anger inside (nobody deserves you to shout at them because your day is not going the way you want it).
Wash your colleagues plates and cups when you get a chance & don’t walk on the wet floor after the cleaning lady just did it!
Wait to be at home to kiss your partner with all the passion and love you have for him/her. If you can’t limit yourself to a quick kiss or hug (Think other people don’t need to watch this and that children are out too, exposed to enough already)

You see where I am going. Let’s start respecting others in our daily life and then we will be able to talk about respect in politics, ideas, religions, and wider issues. 
Have a great day!!

When a World does not know how not to make the same mistakes again and again, this World is lost.

I am outraged and revolted to see the world looking at Syria in the eyes, watching people slaughtered by a government who obviously don’t know anything about Human Rights and doing nothing.

The other day I was watching a  movie that despite the horror of the subject would be one of the best I know, one I would recommend everybody to watch, for the memory of the victims, the memory of men & women who gave their lives to save others, and to remember we could all be responsible of the same horrors if we would have been born is a different society or place – Shooting Dogs is a powerful Movie about the Genocide of Rwanda.

We – I talk about us, countries of the West, countries where politics abuse us every day but where our lifestyle is far better than many people around the world – Societies where maybe Human Rights are not respected but are defended, where money is there but nobody knows how to manage it – Societies who have the power to send military people on threatened lands to protect the population in dangers – We stayed there, watching thousands of people dying, butchered, and we did nothing.

  • In Rwanda in 1994, the Genocide made 800 000 Victims.

  • During the Second World War, 5 millions Jews have been exterminated – 15 000 of Homosexuals, 200 000 of Disabled  and more than 6 millions of people from various religious and cultural backgrounds.

  • In Srebrenica in July 1995 more than 8 000 Muslim Boys and Men were killed.

Not to talk about Iraq, Afghanistan, the never ending war between Israel & Palestine, the climate of terror people are living in in South America, Africa and Asia Pacific facing rape, gangs and manslaughter, the Arab Spring and many more ATROCITIES perpetrated every single day by terrorists and tyrants. 

Today Syria counts already 3 000 dead, maybe more, and we are still looking at blood and torture, hands in our pockets, afraid of doing anything that might compromise the future of our countries.

Tomorrow Syria will be another name on the list of Massacres in the Century and we will forget the faces of the ones who had a dream and gave their lives for peace and respect, till the next time. 

And I continue to pray the World will wake up and face its challenges with courage and love.

Reflections on Lent by Galen Pearl

Thanks Galen Pearl and to all Enjoy the reading! 

When Marie asked me to write a guest post about Lent, I almost declined. Although my faith community is Christian, I feel unqualified to speak with any knowledge or experience about a church season that often passes beneath my spiritual radar. Wouldn’t someone with better Christian credentials than I have be a better spokesperson? No doubt.

And yet, who better than a person with imperfect faith to speak about a season of reflection, penance, and devotion? Maybe I’m exactly the kind of person that spiritual seasons like Lent are meant to call.

Lent comprises a period of forty days before Easter when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The specific spiritual practices during Lent vary from one church to another and even among individuals within a church. At one time, Lent was a period of strict fasting, much like Ramadan or Yom Kippur. However, in modern times, there is much variety. Some people give up their favorite food or a particular activity. Others commit to a special practice, like daily Lent devotions or contemplative prayer.

At my church, there are weekly evening worship services during Lent. In addition, there are weekly classes to study scripture or other readings related to this season of deepening our faith and our relationship with God. There are devotional booklets available for those wanting to follow a daily practice.
Someone said that observing Lent is like spring cleaning our lives. We make an honest assessment of our shortcomings and purify our spirits in recognition and appreciation of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. It’s a time to prepare to receive anew the gift of redemption. 

In its broadest sense, I think it is a time to reaffirm our faith, to refocus our inner vision on what is sacred, to humble ourselves before God, to open our hearts so that divine love can fill us up until we see all people as our brothers and sisters.
For indeed they are.

Guest Blog Post – Zarina on Veil in Islam

Today is a great day as I have the honour to present you the Blog First Guest Post by an Inspiring and Gifted Writer
You will discover a bit of her through the lines she had the kindness to write for the blog about a subject that divide France on a political ground but if we look closely at it and are keen to open her heart to others, relates to Religion and Spirituality, a matter that should not involve anybody else than Women and God.
If you wish to read more, visit her two blogs, that I see as gifts and lights on the journey:

Muslim Women Exposed
How 2 Deal

Enough Talking, now place to Zarina our Guest of the Day!

First let me thank you Zarina for this great favour and the lines you drafted with such passion – This text opened my mind a bit more and from now on I will look differently veiled women in the street and will be more able to share what I know with others who are still in ignorance.

Zarina Text –
Bismillah hir rahman nirahim
I begin in the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
I have been asked by Marie to write something about the topic of veiling or covering of Muslim women. Before I write my own thoughts I’d just like to clarify that when people speak about the veil, it can mean different things. Usually, hijab refers to the head covering or scarf worn by Muslim women. Niqab is the complete face covering and the burqa is the long outer covering that can or cannot include the niqab.
This issue is one that has been discussed and debated much more than it needs to be, and it seems that the more Muslim women try to speak about it, the more you have people trying to silence us. The mainstream media only displays the negative, and they get Muslim women with negative viewpoints and experiences to represent us all. Now, I’m not at any point going to say that there are no Muslim women who feel that they are oppressed. In many countries and settings there are Muslim women who are fighting for their rights so for me to deny this would be quite ignorant, and ignorance is something that I really can’t stand.
What nobody seems to want to admit to is the fact that there are very many Muslim women out there who have actively made the choice to cover themselves for purely religious reasons. A while ago I watched a video, I’m not sure what news channel it was on, but they were discussing British Muslim women and opinions in Britain regarding the veil. As part of this segment they went out and interviewed Muslim women, some were completely covered, and others wore hijab. These women clearly stated that they have made the choice for themselves and nobody has forced them to dress in this manner. Some of them spoke of the benefits and how much they love dressing the way they do. I thought this was great; it was refreshing to hear the other side of the story for a change. And then, in typical media style, they undermined these women’s opinions by getting “experts on the subject”, (which just happened to include a Muslim woman who believes that wearing the hijab is not a religious thing), to discuss the whole issue and they dismissed the women’s views as unimportant. I wondered what was the point of asking women for their opinion if you’re basically just going to tell them that their opinion doesn’t matter, but this is what happens all the time, so I am quite accustomed to it.
The Holy Qur’aan clearly states that women should be covered. The niqab is not explicitly stated as compulsory, but hijab most definitely is. There are many interpretations with regards to this, people have their own opinions, but most people agree that hijab has been made compulsory for women as it fits with the Islamic principles of modesty and respect. Let me just add here that men are also expected to cover themselves; although this differs because of obvious physical differences.
I am a South African Muslim women, and I am fortunate to have had the chance to interact with and research opinions of Muslim women in my country. I can tell you that all the women I have spoken too adamantly state that they have not been forced to wear the hijab or niqab, and all of them have taken this step as a mark of spirituality.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t cover myself the way I should; so I can easily tell you the difference between been covered and not been covered. I have not yet chosen to wear the niqab, but I do cover my entire body and wear a hijab. I thank Allah for this everyday, because I truly believe that the way in which Muslim women dress is a beautiful gift. See, people believe that women are forced to dress this way because they are oppressed, and only regarded as physical objects.  But if you learn more about Islam you will find out that women are asked to dress this way for her protection, for her respect and modesty and to remind others that she is more than a beautiful body and that her in
tellect and personality is far more important.
From my own personal experiences, now that I am covered, I am treated with far more respect and I never have to wonder why people are interested in me. This has taught me that I am a whole human being, not just a physical being. I love covering myself because it makes me feel special. I am not at the liberty of men who feel they can comment on my body at will, and I feel embarrassed for the times that I was openly exposed for anyone to look at me and draw their own opinions. If someone had to tell me that I can no longer dress the way I do, I would be absolutely outraged!
Many people are afraid of the way Muslim women dress, especially when they see a woman in niqab or burqa, but this fear is based on a lack of knowledge and understanding. This fear also comes about when we place emphasis on the external and forget about the internal. If we take the time to look beyond the external then we will find that internally, women in niqab or burqa are not scary at all.
Recently a friend of mine was elated when she told me that she has now begun wearing the niqab. It made her feel good to share this news with others, because for her this was a mark of spiritual progression. She had made this decision based only on her love for her Creator and she no longer cares about what other people have to say. This is the experience of so many Muslim women. They have chosen to cover themselves because they love their Creator.
It’s not difficult to understand. It’s all about tolerance and empathy. I come from a country where intolerance, racism and prejudice were the norm for most of my life; a country where the after effects of this bias and prejudice is still continuing every day. One group of people decided that they were better, their way was better, their skin colour was better, and they deemed everyone else as inferior. If the banning of niqab is not a form of racism and prejudiced, then I don’t know what is. One group of people has now decided that their way of dressing is superior, so this should become the norm, and anyone who doesn’t fit within this norm should be made to fit within it. Does this sound like freedom at all?  
Through all the talks of oppression and cultural symbols, everyone has seemed to have forgotten that behind that veil is a real person. A woman who has more strength than anyone can imagine. She knows when she walks out her door that people will be staring at her, some laughing and mocking, some will comment negatively while others will ask her ridiculous questions. She knows all this, and yet, she chooses to brave it all, because she loves her Creator more than anyone else. People who believe that religion and spirituality have no place in life, will never be able to understand this. They will continue to stigmatise and negatively stereotype and they will do it all in the name of freedom and liberation, yet there freedom and liberation is a mask, a disguise, because their so-called freedom and liberation is actually in reality enslavement and bigotry.
I am a Muslim woman, I cover myself, I do not wish to be exposed, and I am not ashamed of how I dress. I want people to treat me in the same way they would treat any other human being. I am tired of double standards and false representations. I would really like to go about my life without anybody bothering about how I dress. But, since many people do seem to be bothered, I really wish they’d ask me what it’s like instead of making their own assumptions. And when I tell them, I really, really wish they wouldn’t act like I don’t know any better and that they’d actually open their minds and step out of their boxes and try to understand!
To all those people who are open-minded and actually interested in finding out true knowledge, I salute you!
To Marie- A special Thank You!!! May God Bless you always!!!

Praise Be to God for Such Goodness
All your comments are very welcome!!