"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Respecting Moslem Devotion

"Akeel said former detainees told him that upon arrival at a U.S.-run facility, they were each given a questionnaire asking them about their religious affiliation as well as their vices. In Akeel's words, the questions included: "Are you Sunni? Are you Shia? Do you drink? Do you not drink? Do you have a girlfriend?" Akeel said he found a consistent pattern among the cases: the stricter the religious observance a detainee reported to his captors, the more severe the treatment he would receive at their hands.

Akeel provided several examples of religious desecration, including stories of men who had purified themselves in an Islamic absolution ritual only to be subsequently doused with beer and alcohol by captors. At one prison, plaintiffs told Akeel, captors hung a picture of a pig on the wall toward which prisoners faced to worship and told them, 'Pray to your pig.'"
- "Iraqi Prison Horrors Pervasive, Says Attorney", The New Standard, August 31, 2004.

Vatican II, Nostra Aetate, 3: "The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting."

As Catholics, our first duty to our Moslem brothers is to strengthen their faith in the one God. We are called to immerse ourselves in prayer, to be always ready to kneel and abandon the world which presses down so hard. On the day of judgement, those who have built up the faith in others will receive their reward.

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