A Peace of My Mind
By John Noltner, A Peace of My Mind
“A Peace of My Mind” is a documentary project I have been working on for the past half year. It was born out of a desire to give a voice to people who believe in peace. It is easy to become discouraged and even angry when we listen to the shrill rhetoric that can be found in the mainstream media. Complex issues are boiled down to talking points and black and white answers while the true answers are found in the subtle nuances in between.
The premise of “A Peace of My Mind” is simple. To interview individuals from a wide range of backgrounds about their thoughts on peace and what it means to them in their lives, what they do to work toward it and what obstacles stand in their way. Their peace can be a spiritual peace, political peace, inner peace and it is about what moves them. The idea is that the more we can talk about peace and the more we can keep it in the public dialog, the more likely we can achieve it.
The interviews are edited into downloadable podcasts and placed on a website, http://apeaceofmymind.net, where they are combined with a black and white portrait and a short bio of each person. The website also includes background on the project and a blog. The subjects are diverse, including a husband and wife who are Holocaust survivors, a retired police officer who works with incarcerated teens, a Buddhist minister, a Muslim woman who runs a law firm, a CEO of a medical company who has built an AIDS orphanage in Africa, and many others.
The goal of “A Peace of My Mind” is to create a community where people can share their thoughts about peace and to create a body of work that can help us understand one another a little bit better. Interviews and blog entries will be updated regularly, and everyone is invited to participate by submitting essays, poems or other thoughts on the subject, some of which will be included in the blog section.
Please take a moment to visit http://apeaceofmymind.net and help me spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues.
Note: Below are two interviews of Minnesotan Muslims.
Imani Jaafar-Mohammad is a lawyer and partner in a law firm with her husband. Born in the United States to Lebanese immigrants, she feels she has acted as a peace broker for most of her life, both formally and informally.
Imani speaks often to school, business and church groups in an effort to help people understand what it means to be a Muslim woman in America today. She encourages people to get their information first hand and not accept stereotypes about other cultures and religions.
Zafar Siddiqui is an American Muslim, born in India. He serves on the board of directors for Al-Amal School, the first all Islamic k-12 school in Minnesota. He also leads the Islamic Resource Group, dedicated to educating others about Islam and Muslims.
Zafar talks about the peaceful nature of Islam as a religion, and how fringe elements have misused the religion for their own purposes, just as other groups from other religions have done throughout history.