I had intended to use this post to talk about my ideas for improving America's public diplomacy, but you'll have to wait for that one - I'd like to talk about something else that came to mind during our visit to the Sugarloaf Craft Festival in Manassas, Virginia, last weekend.
I enjoy craft shows because I admire the skills many people have that I don't. One of the exhibitors was a lady from Moneta, Virginia, named Susan Loy, who does beautiful literary calligraphy - you can check out her work online at her website, www.literarycalligraphy.com. Susan (a delightful lady to talk with!) takes biblical verses, poetry, and other literary works and turns them into marvelous pieces of calligraphic art. I tend to be a fairly emotional person, and I was literally moved to tears by some of her work, particularly the beautiful Bible passage from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 that begins, "Love is patient and kind..."
And that got me to thinking...
What are the equivalent verses on love of neighbor in the Koran? We tend to hear the most violent and intolerant parts of the Koran quoted by Muslim extremists, but are there also calls to love and understanding like one finds in the Bible? Yes, the Bible also has plenty of violence and intolerance in it, but over time, Christians have moved away from them and toward the essential message of love and tolerance.
I found an online English translation of the Koran (which, of course, Muslims will say is worthless because it isn't in Arabic), but haven't had the time to read through the over 6,000 verses in search of messages other than violence and hatred.
The Ten Commandments say, "Thou shalt not kill." They do not say, "Thou shalt not kill other Christians, but everyone else is okay." In the Muslim world, the tears shed for the victims of terrorism are shed only for Muslims. What does the Koran say?
What is the Koranic equivalent of the beautiful words about love of 1 Corinthians?
I'm really interested in this - ask a Muslim where the calls to brotherhood and understanding are to be found in the Koran, and let me know.
In the meantime, look up Susan Loy at the next Sugarloaf Crafts Festival (or on her website) and be prepared to be impressed by a very nice lady with some marvelous talent.
More thoughts later.