Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Tonight, on our way to the English Corner, Abdullah took me by the mosque. There was no prayer service going on, so the place was not busy, but I wanted to see where it was, because I am interested in going there for the Friday prayer service. We chatted briefly with the local Inman, a cozy gentleman from the Ninxia Hui Autonomous Region. The Hui are largely Muslim. Abdullah himself is from this minority. When I first mentioned to Abdullah that I wanted to visit the mosque, he warned me:

"Don't tell them you're American!

"Why not?"

"Because we hate Americans!"

I said, "Abdullah, most of the Muslims I have met are decent people. I am sure they will not have a problem with the fact that I am American once they meet me and see that I am a person of good will."

Well, I will be proven right or wrong when I get a chance to visit one of the Friday prayer services. But I have seen over and over again how establishing personal friendships with people can overwhelm the stereotypical prejudices that so often cripple relationships between peoples. There is no weapon so powerful as plain, ordinary human kindness.

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