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Before You Bully Based on Faith . . .

We all make sense of our environment using our five senses and the information we receive from trusted family members. My first example to illustrate this statement is my brother’s dislike of cheese in his childhood. My mom used to have sliced cheese in the refrigerator to make sandwiches. She usually had American or Swiss. My brother did not like these cheeses and assumed he did not like any cheese at all.

My second example is the reason my friends gave for why they could not come to my house to play. My friends were not allowed to play at my house because my mother was divorced. In the sixties, it was a stigma to be a single mother. It was considered sinful – even worse if you were living with someone you were not married to.

With an open mind and a little education, my brother grew to like cheese and the world learned that abused mothers had to divorce in order to save themselves and their children. With enlightenment, ideas change. I hope this article will change our mind about accepting intolerance and bullying of others who are of a different religion.

Define terrorist. Draw your image of a terrorist. What color is their skin? What color is their hair? What is their religion? What are they wearing? Why are they killing the people they kill? Now turn your drawing over and Google information on Albert DeSalvo, David Berkowitz, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, Terry Jones, James Holmes, Adam Lanza and Dylann Roof. Now compare the information you retrieve with your image.

My ex-husband is an Ismaili Muslim of Ugandan origin and East Indian descent. He became a Canadian citizen at the age of thirteen, shortly after Idi Amin’s expulsion and genocide of Asian-Ugandan citizens. He and I met in college in Boston, married after a five-year courtship and had our daughter in Florida several years later. She was three when the Oklahoma City bombing happened (1995). My ex-husband stood by the water cooler with coworkers and a supervisor, discussing the story. All surmised that the terrorist that did this was Muslim and that he probably looked like my ex-husband. He was obviously tan, dark-haired and had a neatly trimmed mustache and beard. He wore contemporary American business attire. Timothy McVeigh – a white American with reddish brown hair – was found to be the terrorist in this event.

So terrorism, like cheese and families, comes in different colors and attributes. Check this YouTube presentation of the Aga Khan, Shah Karim Al-Huseini, Imam of the Ismaili Muslim population. It will enlighten you toward a more educated and tolerant frame of mind. See


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