Monday, 20 February 2012


Sometimes I feel like I just need to write.  Not necessarily over anything in particular, but just random stuff that's on my mind.  The past week has been a lot like that.  I think about something I want to write about, but then by the time I get home I can't for the life of me remember what it was.  Maybe I need to start keeping a little notebook in my pocket.  Or text it to myself.  Or something.  Because at the time that I think of it, I have a lot to say on the matter.  But it was apparently so important that by the time I get home, I can't even remember what the topic was.

One of the things that I often think about is community.  What it is and what it should be.  I have this idealized version of what a community in general should be.  People that, while they do mind their own business on day to day issues, they also step up when things go wrong and help out their neighbours as is needed.  That when they see a neighbour struggling to shovel their driveway out with an actual shovel and the snow is w
aist high that, if they're already out with their snowblower, that once they're done their driveway, they come over and spend ten minutes and help.  That if they see a single parent or an elderly or ill neighbour who's having problems keeping up with outdoor work that they just once and awhile - without even asking - give a little helping hand.

But in today's world, that doesn't seem to be what community is.  Community has become just a group of people who happen to live in houses on the same street. Who complain when their neighbour is struggling but can't see past the end of their own property line to help out.  Who can't even be bothered to learn the names of their new neighbours, let alone say hello.

Maybe I have an idealized version of community, but if you get new neighbours, shouldn't you go and introduce yourself?  And yes, I did do this last fall when we had new neighbours move in across the street.

However, it's not just in the outside world that the sense of community has left me feeling depressed about the state of the world, but also amongst the Ummah - the Muslim community.

Maybe it's just where I am, maybe it's not.  Somehow I don't see it being just here.  But the thing is, I don't see much in the way of peace or harmony or a general sense of community within the ummah.  I see sectarian hatred and myth propagation.  Not just on the news (in which it is also violence) but here, where the majority (Pakistani Sunni) say some mean and vile things about the minority (anyone who is not Pakistani Sunni, in particular the few that are Shi'a).  I see this to the point that those of us not in that community don't even let our kids be involved in the things arranged for the children because of the undertones.  I see it in the fact that I went and asked one of the Arab brothers if he knew anyone who could teach my children Arabic or Qur'an because the sister that normally does the teaching uses the time to also tell the kids why they should hate one family in particular (because they are Shi'a).  I, and some others, do not want our children exposed to that.  There's enough hatred against Muslims in general in the world from the "outside" that to spread it within is just detrimental to everyone.  But yet, people don't seem to see this.

I've been asked "what are you?" so many times I've lost count.  I answer "I'm a Muslim."  The people that ask always look annoyed because we both know I haven't answered their question.  They ask again.  Depending on how much they are annoying me at that time depends on how I answer.  But the answer is this - I am a Muslim.  I do not subscribe to any school of thought.  I do not do the whole pick and choose thing. I am Muslim.  I see anyone who is Muslim as my brother or sister in faith.  I will not ignore or speak ill of anyone just for what school of thought they may follow.  But I have been told that I am as good as an apostate for refusing to choose and tell whether or not I am Sunni, Shi'a or something else entirely.  But that's not my problem.  That's theirs.

So maybe my ideological sense of community is not what exists anymore.  But it can still be what I want it to be, even if in my own little world.  A place where people help one another out.  A group of people who are kind to one another.  And a group of people who do more than just live in houses - houses, not homes - that happen to be on the same street.  Or at least I can hope.  Can't I?

No comments:

Post a Comment