… to post about Munich again but before, I want to share the following with you.

FIRST and most important … my friends in Beirut are alive and alright! Originally from Saida, I had still succeeded to remain in touch with them but since the day they went to Beirut, there was silence, not one word anymore and I was increasingly worried. Just about an hour ago I got the happy news they are fine, shaken up though with the children traumatised by the deafening sounds of the ongoing explosions – but at least alive and physically alright. I guess that’s the greatest news of the day!

SECONDLY … I want to tell you about a conversation I had just the other day with an elderly woman who very obviously didn’t like herself, nor anybody and anything around …

We rode the street-train together. I had gotten on at Stachus and she at central station. Near me on the bench sat a middle-aged man with a full-to-burst backpack, a plastic bag full of food in his right hand and a lonely lemon squeezed somehow under an exterior net-cover of his backpack. The moment this woman entered, the man – I would think he might have been Turkish – very politely got up and offered his place to this woman who mumbled a few words and sat down. The coming stop the man got off.

Before the train started to move again she turned to me and said “They all live there”, nodding her head disparagingly in a certain direction pointing at a building where many foreign workers reside. I looked at her and responded ” What’s the problem? I found him very nice – after all he right away got off his seat and offered you his place”! She did not like what I said and disagreed with the words “usually they (meaning foreigners) don’t do that, Germans yes but not “they””. Now I felt a certain challange and countered “no, you’re wrong! It is often exactly the opposit – Germans successfully look aside and the foreigners get up!” “No, no” she answered, “Islam doesn’t get up”!

I raised my eyebrows and said “WHO doesn’t get up? You mean Muslims!?” “No” she said, convinced she hit the jack-pot, “I mean Islam”! I had to force myself to remain serious but could hardly suppress a grin. I said “you’re far off – REAL Islam does not only get up but help out even further!” I decided I stick with her way of putting it as she definitely had no idea and for a “lesson” there was no time. “No, no” she exclaimed, “you are wrong!” I sad “no, I am NOT wrong otherwise I wouldn’t say that”! She all of a sudden felt somewhat uneasy and added “maybe a few do that – but Islam usually doesn’t!” I made another dogged attempt to convince her by saying” NO, believe me, it is NOT the way you think!”

By then we had reached the stop she had to get off … and while getting up and walking to the door, I heard her mumble “let’s nicely remain Catholic … all the other stuff is nothing for me!”

I sat there, continuing my way and silently giggled but on the other hand I wondered and thought of the bad name Islam very obviously has all over. This woman really had no idea about the whole issue but even she naively spread this negative image.

THIRDLY … I think it is high time for Muslims all over to collectively start correcting it, to act as examples for others in every-day-life according to the way Prophet Muhammad ordered … and to state AND act clearly and for everybody understandable what Islam REALLY stands for – and what it totally opposes. Approaching it this way is the only chance to turn things around and fight these horrible cut and dried opinions.
People here in the West mostly don’t grasp what Islam is – and more important what it is NOT – and this fact alone openes a door for extremists to take advantage of and distort and destroy the image completely. If I talk to people about Islam, the first association they have is beheadings, cutting limbs, terrorism, killing, torturing, explosions ect. … best examples being Bin Laden and Musab al-Zarqawi!
How am I supposed to counteract when I find facts confirming that in the headlines of almost every newspapers at least once a week? People understandably respond by telling me it is I(!) who has no idea … how should I convince them of the opposite?
For people who KNOW what Islam really stands for, it is increasingly difficult to explain and reason with others as the readiness of them to even listen dwindles with every single time Islam makes negative headlines.

It is in my opinion to a great extent the responsibility of Imams at mosques all over to start .. the rest is up to each responsible individual. What happened in London just four days ago should act as MAJOR wake-up call …


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