Why I Carried the Quran
Carol Masters
justviewpoint.org
cmasters@bitstream.net

A little background: On Wednesday before the September 11 rally at Hennepin and Lagoon, the speaker at People of Faith Peacemakers (St. Martin’s Table) was Shaun Duvall, Director of Puentes/Bridges. She works with Midwestern dairy farmers and their Latino employees in a cross-cultural program to bring the farmers to Mexico to meet their employees’ families, learn to know their communities, and generally deepen cultural understandings across borders (http://www.puentesbridges.org/). This first-of-a-kind program earned Shaun the highest citizen award from the Mexican government.

During the announcement time before the speaker was introduced, I mentioned the upcoming rally, which WAMM endorsed. Shaun responded, “You should carry the Quran at your march!” I was startled – my march? (Why me?) The suggestion raised a number of questions and discomforts, which revisited me at 3 a.m. the next couple of nights.

I admit my first worry was a negative – if not racist – reaction. I’m not a Muslim. What are the protocols? Will I, a woman, be seen as mocking the culture’s holy book? Then, what is the appropriate way to carry another religion’s sacred scripture – openly?

A person dear to me questioned whether the action would be provocative. The context was, of course, hate-monger Terry Jones and his tiny but truly inflammatory followers – inflammatory because the story became mainstream. Along with the controversy over building a mosque at Ground Zero, the story was part of a media blitz last week of speculation about increasing racial tensions, from talk radio to PBS. Ignoring the idiocy didn’t seem to be an option.

So – I am not a Muslim; that is part of the point. As a Christian, a member of one of the Abrahamic faiths, I wish to honor another faith’s Book. I hear the charge to love God and one another as the first and greatest commandment; I wish to reach out to Muslim sisters and brothers. As a woman, I am uncomfortable with those parts of the Quran and the Judeo-Christian scriptures that are violent and patriarchal; but I believe that deeper messages reflected in those holy books speak of humanity’s longings for peace and God’s call to peacemaking.

I am a citizen of the United States entitled and enjoined to follow the Constitution, which protects freedom of religion and speech. As Michael Moore wrote, “I want [the mosque] built on Ground Zero. Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice (OpenMike 9/11/10).”

Finally, I am a member of Women Against Military Madness, whose mission is to dismantle militarism, exploitation, and oppression [three pillars of Empire]. The current Islamophobia feeds the militarism that is killing us.

Carol Masters, WAMM Board co-chair

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By Published On: September 15th, 20101 Comment

One Comment

  1. Steve Clemens September 16, 2010 at 7:43 AM

    Thanks, Carol. That is the same reason why my wife and I and two other friends from my faith community (The Community of St. Martin) went to a mosque and Islamic teaching center in St. Paul on Sept. 11 this year. We may still disagree about theological issues but we have to relate to one another as brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends if we want a world of peace. Incidentally, I think there were probably as many Jews in attendance that evening as there were Christians.

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