Saturday, 11 September 2010

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Response to Islam Growth

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

I read in the paper about the growth of Islam in the world and the Christian response to it. In an article by Simon Coldwell, a Vatican official is quoted saying that European Christians must have more children or face the prospect of the Continent becoming Islamized.

Some statistics from Europe point out that 2.4 percent of Muslim population has doubled in the past 30 years and is predicted to double again by 2015. According to US Migration Policy Institute, Muslims will account for more than 20 percent of the EU population by 2050. Mohammed is expected to be the most popular boy's name in England and Wales when figures are released by the office for National Stats in October.

Quoting on Italian priest Father Piero Gheddo "Certainly from a demographical point of view, as it is clear to everyone that Italians are decreasing by 120,000 or 130,000 persons a year because of abortion and broken families -- while among the more than 200,000 legal immigrants a year in Italy, more than half are Muslims and Muslim families, which have a much higher level of growth."

I read another article in the same paper of Saskatoon's "Star Phoenix" before I took off for an evening trek about an extreme reactionary church in Florida. On Sept. 11, the anniversary to mark the perceived terrorist attack of 2001 the church's plan under pastor Terry Jones directions, is to burn thousands of copies of the Qu'ran. Many groups of people are fearing a backlash in the US and beyond.

Not to discuss figures of growth or responses to it, I found it interesting that in the late afternoon myself and three companions Nitai, Goura and Nitai Priya were by divine arrangement being driven to Edmonton for our next stop by a man from the Middle East and he was a Muslim. I'm going to call him Ken and not defer to his actual name.

Ken, who is rather moderate in his views on things, asked me many questions, respectfully. For instance, for classification he wanted to know what category I belong to when it comes to religion. I mentioned that religious scholars, who prefer to put everyone in some box, refer us to in the Hindu context although in essence I believe I'm not following a religion but spirituality.

Another question Ken asked was "What about statues in temples? What role do they play?" My answer was, "If you are a Catholic you pray to Jesus via his statue to provide the eyes a focal point and a remembrance of him just like Muslims who worship the Kaaba in Mecca. It is a stone resembling very much the Hindu Shiva lingam. These images, either the Christan ones or otherwise, are referred to as sacred due to some consecrated event. They are powerful and serve to purify the worshiper."

In general, Ken was satisfied with these and other explanations. I showed him my meditation beads and gave him a sample of chanting. our discussion was great as we got to know each other better.

Although not discussed, my personal opinion on aforementioned topics is that some groups should cut down on child production, others should step up but most of all we should invest more into our individual spiritual growth and establish common ground.

8 KM

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