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Learning To Accept Muslims As A Baha'i.


zanOTK
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I've already posted how I went from a Christian to a Baha'i. Perhaps some noticed one religion missing from the list of faiths I'd investigated: Islam. I still hadn't gotten over the Islamaphobia I had been raised with at this time, and so I didn't read the Quran and I didn't even consider Islam.

And something that made it difficult for me to become a Baha'i was: Muhammad is considered one of God's Messengers. But everything else just drew me in, and in the end I accepted anyone. So I accepted that Muhammad was a Prophet. But His followers? What am I to think of them?

Not long after becoming a Baha'i, I learned about the horrors that Babis and Baha'is have faced, and are still facing, in Muslim countries. Just another thing to add to the list of reasons not to like Muslims.

Right?

Except I wasn't looking at it correctly. According to the Baha'i teachings, I'm not supposed to be making lists of reasons not to like people, but instead I'm supposed to be finding reasons to love them! And I certainly couldn't create a list of reasons to dislike an entire GROUP of people, connected only by their religion.

"Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship." Baha'u'llah said.

Well then, I suppose the first place to start was to meet a Muslim. While there are a few Muslims in Little Rock, there weren't any in the rural area of Arkansas I was living in at the time, so how the heck was I supposed to meet a Muslim?

Why, the internet of course.

Long before I became a Baha'i, I was fascinated by the artificial language Esperanto. I thought, even with its many flaws, it had a lot of potential. I guess I was right, because it ended up being the reason I contacted Amin.

Amin and I met eachother through an Esperanto learning site. We became friends on Facebook, and I soon found out that he was an Iranian Muslim, but he didn't learn of my faith for a while.

I was amazed by this man. I had been conditioned by my upbringing and my culture to believe that Muslims, and Iranians in general, were backward, hat-mongering, anti-American murderers! (this is actually a lot tamer than the things my parents often said about Muslims...)
But Amin was intelligent, although severely lacking in his English (his Esperanto was even worse!), modern, and quite kind. He was a musician, and a talented one too! We quickly became friends, and were discussing various topics online almost every day. One day, he revealed to me that he would like to come to America, but was afraid of the anti-Muslim sentiments here.

"You should move to a community with a lot of Baha'is, " I told him, "you won't have to deal with Islamaphobia from them."
"Oh no, Alexander!" he said, "Baha'is are not good, Baha'is are bad to Muslims!"
"Amin, " I responded, "I'm a Baha'i!"

He could hardly believe it! He had been brought up to view Baha'is negatively, just as I had been brought up to view Muslims negatively. So when he learned that someone he had been enjoying so much conversation with was a Baha'i, he was shocked. I explained to him that Baha'is weren't what he had been conditioned to believe, that we were quite the opposite! We didn't talk much more that day, but we continued to discuss the subject later.

One day, I was reading a the Seven Valleys online, and Amin messaged me on Facebook. We started talking, and he asked what I was doing.
"Reading a book." I said.
"What book?"
"One of the Baha'i holy books, the Seven Valleys. It's really good."

He asked if I could provide him with a link, and I did. He messaged me again saying:
"You're a lot like Muslims."

Amin had changed how I viewed Muslims. And I had changed how he viewed Baha'is. Together we had taken a step towards the realization of Baha'u'llah's dream, that all people would be able to live together in a spirit of harmony and friendship. It was a small step, but a step, nonetheless.

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Guest ninurta

How is that any different from palestinians not liking jews? Or Israelis not liking palestinian muslims? *hint: Its not*

 

Welcome aboard!

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Thanks, and I agree 100%.

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