By John Noltner, a peace of my mind
To my Muslim friends who are being asked to reassure us that you are not “one of them”…allow me a moment to reassure you…
I see your posts on Facebook distancing yourselves from the terror. I hear your leaders from mosques and schools condemning the attacks. I read the sorrow in your words.
And I know…
I know that you have the same sorrow I feel for the loss of life…that you fear the same insanity of the world that I fear…and on top of it all you carry the burden of assumptions about who you are that have no merit.
I know there is nothing that connects you to the terrorists…there is nothing that you share.
And it seems sad that I should even have to say this…to prove that you are my friends…the same way it seems sad that you should be asked to prove you are not a terrorist. But just as I see you denounce what is evil, I will stand here today to proclaim what is good.
I am proud to call you my friends.
I have seen the good you bring into the world through your kind words and deeds. I have seen you volunteer at food shelves and donate to the same charities I do. I have seen you work toward building stronger communities and move toward justice. I have seen you stand in line to vote and encourage our democratic ideals.
I see the value you place on family and children and education and hope and love…
…and I know…
…that this world…this country…this community…and my life…are all better…because you are in it.
And I know that it is absurd to think that you, yourself, can stop terrorism…just the way I, myself, cannot stop war…or corruption…or crime…or hate…
But together…I think maybe we can.
So I’m proud to stand by you, my friends…and together we will try.
John Noltner founded A Peace of My Mind, a multimedia art project that fosters public dialogue about issues related to conflict resolution, civic responsibility, and peace. With engaging portraits and compelling personal stories, more than fifty subjects describe what peace means to them, how they work toward it in their lives, and some of the obstacles they encounter along the way.
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