Response to recent East/West Opinion Letter on Pakistanlink.com website. Let Delaware People to People Be Our Common Ground! By Jeanny Swartz.
12 Mar 2004
It was most interesting to read an article on the Pakistanlink.com webpaper from a Muslim hailing from same State on East Coast as I live - the wonderful "first State" of Delaware! Thanks to Mr. Nasim Hassan for his good insights on differences betwe
I hope soon to meet Mr. Hassan and his entire family and openly invite them to my home for an evening of sharing around dinner table to develop ongoing friendships.
I will continue with a bit more writings, but perhaps this first paragraph in itself says it all - in that both Mr. Hassan and I live in the small State of Delaware, but in my many years of trying to meet and befriend some of the many Muslim neighbors and/or business persons living here,I have NEVER had any of these persons invite me into their home as I have invited them, or even continue to make contact with me to develop an ongoing "caring" friendship.
I have many times invited many Muslims to join our local chapter of People to People International, a secular organization which was expressly developed to have people from any and every country meet and become friends and develop understanding and peace between countries from these simple friendships. I have written several letters to this Pakistanlink.com site to share about PtoP and our events to hopefully interest others to join - none of these have ever been posted. I also have tried to interest Muslims to join other local community groups doing outreach - such as the State run Food Bank, soup kitchens, their local neighborhood associations, and to provide hosting for foreign students who come to the local university to study - but I have had very little success in this, much less in interesting them to do any type of joint venture perhaps with other religious communities.
But to this date, over many many years of asking I have become totally exhausted and consternated about why so few Muslims living here seem to understand the importance of such public outreach and that many many Americans can only believe from this that there is no such "caring" interest or "heart" on these issues on the part of Muslims, because
they simply are not ever physically present to express their viewpoints either verbally or by labor/actions. Being a Christian I will tell you there is also a Christian concept of not allowing your left hand to know what your right hand is doing, and not announcing your charity activities all the times so that you can remain humble in sight of God and know it was He who directed you to do all these things for the very least. However, a very large part of the Gospel places a call on the hearts of Christians to help the "least of these" and thus many of us do reach out to individuals or families we know personally needing many types of assistance - and most of these smaller activities are not known. From this "outreach" aspect, many with common desire to help a particular group have been moved to develop larger assistance agencies - but from this we can not help that they are public agencies known and supported by many, but they were not developed for "show" or to obtain recognition, simply to provide a common ground for people with like minds and needs to work together.
The other reason we do this is simply as Americans - we understand the concept that America is a melting pot - and a large part of living here is meeting and accepting and working with other people groups you may never have known before - the beauty of America is every person is equally able to share and have their voice heard, but only if they 'melt' with others to form the best 'end result" - no one group's opinion or religious viewpoint can or should dominate everyone, based upon our Constitution anyone living here agrees to blend their lives with others and learn from them and live in peace with them! So if Muslims can not commit to doing this 'melting' (which does not mean giving up everything you believe but simply to live the best of all worlds together) then it is impossible for other Americans to believe they truly understand "caring and concern", "peace and tolerance".
I am sure if Mr Hassan would meet me and speak to the few Muslims I do know they could tell him that I am one American (German Irish heritage, 4th generation) who has this "caring and concern" attitude well beyond my own family - I have friends I still contact that I went thru early school years with, and many friends now living around the world who I met years ago in various jobs and while living some 10 years ago in the Ardens (has Mr. Hassan been to this international dance club to meet the Pakistani president and his wife?). So my house and heart are open to ANYONE needing assistance or willing to share peacefully their understanding of life and make this world a better place from this caring/sharing.
SO I urge Mr. Hassan and anyone else truly interested in showing their care and concern on a public level, as is expected in America, to look for information about People to People and come to our next events or create a chapter in your own area anywhere around the world if a chapter does not yet exist there. Sadly the last two very well publically marketed recent events which he missed and where we surely needed his and many other Muslim voices at were exactly presentations by the State Dept. reps about South Asia and the Middle East.
What else can be said except - please join PtoP to meet many other Similar minded peaceful, caring people, as well as meet me and come my house to see "love, caring and concern" for both great and small in action!
PS - I tried to send this via your email address but I got a failure message stating the file was too large, so I am forwarding by fax. Hope if you do not post this that you can please forward privately to Mr. Hassan with my email address so he can contact me. Shukryia!