When all else fails, divide and conquer.
Thus has been the thought process of many well-known tyrants and dictators. Simply place an idea in the masses, a seed strong enough to divide them, and sit back and watch as the destruction begins from within and the original goal of the group dissipates.
Division among people has always taken place, borders are drawn and international waters are claimed, walls are built and bridges are burnt all because we were told not to like a certain people, religion or ideology. In this century, it seems we have gone back a multitude of years to a time when religion and ethnicity have become the dividing factor in our lives.
An example of such: On my way home the other day, a lady sat in front of me on the bus reading the local newspaper. As she flipped through the pages skimming the latest celebrity gossip and other anecdotes, the article that caught her eye was about a statement the Iranian president had made recently and how absurd they are. I'm not a fan of Ahmedinejad and will not try to defend him at this point, my issue with this is the mention of Islam in vain.
Divide and conquer.
Now I know and fully understand that every time any terrorists undertook an attack they would mention the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and Allah and say that they were doing this to fight the infidels and to reap ultimate bliss in the Heavens above. This is the version of Islam I like to call theatrical and dramatic and completely false. If any one is to look into the religion, they will come to understand that these "Freedom Fighters" will most likely not benefit from much in the afterlife for many reasons. First of all, suicide is completely against Islam, we believe that our lives are in the hands of God and only He can decide when to take it. As muslims, we are asked to take up arms only when we are being attacked and not be the instigators. If a war does take place, we are told not to involve innocent people, this is not simply women and children but anyone who is not involved in the war. We are taught that if we are to approach people of a different religion that we must be kind to them, not aggressive, we should talk to them about Islam, provide them with the information they need and not push them in any way, especially violently.
Instead a religion whose name is directly translated to Peace is being massacred in the media constantly by people who simply don't understand it. The teachings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and of the Quran are being translated by people who don't care to understand the context and make it fit within the framework that they please. People are being spoon-fed false information by what they consider is a trustworthy source and are forming opinions on the wrong basis about an entire religion, it's mind-blowing.
Again, divide and conquer.
The factor that triggered all these thoughts in my head was that recently I had the honor of sitting in on an Orthodox Church congregation. Don't get me wrong, I've been to church congregations before and have read the Bible once as well but this particular time struck me a great deal. As I sat in the pieus and listened to the priest discussing heaven and hell and sins and good deeds, I couldn't help but find myself drawing many parallels between two of the three great religions of the earth today.
He was discussing how God covers up our sins when we repent and how we must always be sure to repent and be sincere and never to go back to bad habits once we've done so. In return, God will cover up our sins because He does not wish to embarrass us by revealing our sins to others. He went further to discuss that we are creatures of fault and must fight our tendencies to stray from the right path and find our strength in God and trust Him with all our worldly affairs. I can safely say that Islamic teachings are exactly the same. I can challenge anyone to go and look at the right sources and they will see that these teachings were all mentioned in the Quran and in the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH).
United we stand, divided we fall.
If everyone was to simply stop for a moment and take a deeper look at what it is they were so adamantly deciding to hate, they would realize that our similarities are far greater than our differences. They would realize that there are so many similarities they will begin to question why they hated the other side in the first place. It doesn't matter by which name you or I call upon God, the point is we both do. We rejoice in happiness and cry in sadness and look to a higher power for help in both occasions, whether it's by reading verses of the Quran or the Bible or the Torah. When we are scared, we pray for help and safety, does it really matter that it's done in three different languages? The purpose is always one, please God help me, give me strength.
Stop looking to the media and television for information and start finding better sources and understand who lives on the other side of the border before you decide to hate them or even judge them. Understand that the divisions will cause us all to lose in the end, you can't defend yourself standing alone. If we come together and celebrate our similarities we will be invincible and only then will the world be a better place. Read a book, talk to the neighbours, open your minds and be as children are when they come together, curious and welcoming of one another.