There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently about a guy who lives in the United States (I can’t bring myself to refer to him as an American) and his plans to burn the Qur’an on September 11. This Make-a-Prophet has decided to claim his 15 minutes of fame by associating the Muslim Holy Book and the entire Muslim religion with fanatical extremists and terrorism. That one man could be so intensely ignorant as to think the best way to combat fanaticism is with fan-ass-ism would be comical if it didn’t make me want to thump a Bible so hard across his head that he spewed more than just fire and brimstone until the rapture.
But anger and violence is exactly what started this mess to begin with. Rather then let myself get sucked into the vacuum between the Prophet Margin-al’s ears, I decided to remember September 11, 2001 my own way—by taking my Jewish (half, actually, as my ex is Jewish) son to the Grand Mosquée of Paris.
I’ve lived in Paris for 20 years and never been in the Grand Mosque. Outside it, sure, several times, but never past the keyhole doorway that opens up into another land. Until today.
We went inside and sat in the courtyard and drank mint tea and ate north African pastries and talked about what happened 9 years ago to the day in New York. We left the tea salon, went around to the Mosque and toured the gardens where we talked about why I’d chosen this specific place to commemorate that sad anniversary.
There’s a French expression which translates into something like: My freedom ends where yours begins.
Religious beliefs have never killed anyone.
This post is dedicated to the families and friends of the 2,977 victims who lost their lives in the attacks September 11, 2001. It’s written with the hope that we can use the gift of tolerance to fight the ignorance of the closed minded, wherever they may live.