baraka_monk_doorAn open letter to Omar Mateen and others of his ilk.

To Omar Mateen,
I want to explain a few things.
I am a Muslim. I am a human. I am a father and friend to people from all walks of life, whose colour, background, orientation and every other form of identity is secondary to my judgement of them. You see I judge them according to their manners, their sincerity and their love. I don’t bring hatred with me. Just love. Love all as one unified being, with patience and compassion. Love all as a reflection to your heart’s mirror.  A reflection of yourself in another. Shine your heart’s mirror well, so you see each other in yourselves – even in people you don’t want to see yourself in.
I got all of these values from my religion, Islam.
Again, people like you have destroyed that image. Even with the most rigid and radical interpretation of Islam, I fail to see how you justified the death of innocent human beings. Forget theory, forget scholars. Just tell me how you can think this is my religion? Tell me how you can possibly think this is justified? If you can show me, then it’s not my religion. I’ve already rejected it. That’s not the beauty I see in the unity of creation, humans and their places. That’s not the beauty I see when I close my eyes in prayer and feel the cool breeze of calmness and love from head to toe.
Omar, you’ve isolated and marginalised Muslims even more. The damage you’ve done will not be repaired by another Muhammad Ali, as there is not anyone like him to represent us anymore. You might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. You’ve now empowered politicians even more to call for the banning of Muslims in America and Europe. You’ve now made it even more acceptable for women wearing a headscarf to be discriminated, men wearing turbans to be victims of hate crimes, beards only acceptable if you’re a white hipster. At worse, a crime like yours might be perpetrated on Muslims.
The thing is Omar, we Muslims work awfully hard to win hearts and minds after 9/11.  Sure, we have our problems with interpretation, law and culture. However, on the whole we all work very hard to undo the damage people like you do. You have to understand the repercussions your actions will have on families and political discourse.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that the whole point of your act is to divide communities and humanity. To sow discord.
You haven’t won yet.
Omar, today I stand with LGBT people with pride.  Something you would disdain. But here’s what I need you to understand. They’re also a discriminated minority who don’t deserve hate. Nobody does Omar.  Nobody deserves to be discriminated according to basic human unity.
You’re an immigrant from a war torn country Omar. You should know better.  You’ve come to a country where it’s okay to have a ‘latin night’ gay theme in a club. How wonderful is that? Perhaps, you don’t like it. Well, many people don’t like your dress or your mosque, but they won’t shoot you would they?  I would extend my hand to you and to others like you in a split second.
Initially, I wrote this letter in anger. I was angry with you Omar. However, I wish you were alive. I do understand some of your anger, but I want to stop the next Omar Mateen.  I want to stop the next terrorist.  Do you remember when I was talking about hearts being mirrors. Well Omar, in reality our hearts are broken fragments of one mirror. All reflecting one unifying, oneness of creation. Some call it God, love or the Universe. Call it what you want – by hurting others, you’re only hurting yourself. In the end when the veils hiding the truth are peeled away, we are left with two religions; those who want to peace, and those who do not.
So I say to those who want to hurt others – I hope we meet someday.
I want to explain a few things.
written by Benny Lava