Beautiful Land of Diversity

Beautiful Land of Diversity

I like Anderson Cooper‘s new daytime talk-show but some of the segments have been hit-or-miss with me. Inter-racial dating, hit. Transgender children, miss. This Thursday’s show focused on a new TLC show called All-American Muslims. Some of the on-air personalities were there to promote it and dispel some stereotypes. People had questions and some had fears. One of the show’s more outspoken opponents was invited to join the conversation. She was brave and opinionated. Two qualities I usually hold in high regard but, every opinionated woman should be able to admit if she’s wrong. She actually reminded me of how happy I am to be born and raised in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. We’re an imperfect nation with serious problems but one line from our national anthem holds true, “Where every creed and race finds an equal place.” Here’s the clip from Anderson and you might get my drift:

Could she handle living in a country like mine? Caucasians are a minority and most of the population are descended from slaves and Indian indentured labourers. The Indians brought two faiths: Hinduism and Islam. On July 27th 1990 a home-grown, radical Islamic group seized power from our elected government and held the country hostage. It was brief, destructive and shocking. Most of the country wasn’t aware of this group’s existence or that they were capable of such violence. Did we turn against our Muslim countrymen afterwards? No. Did we picket mosques? No. Did we stop our children from playing with their Muslim friends in school? No. Over twenty years later, our people still live, work, party and pray together in peace.

We knew that all Muslims could never be held accountable for the actions of a few.  During Eid-ul-Fitr, your Muslim friend will invite you over for curried lamb and Sawine. When it’s Divali, your Hindu neighbour will give you bags of Parsad, Kurma and Barfi. When it’s Christmas, you could go to your Christian friend’s house for ham, Pastelles, Sorrel and Ponch-De-Crème. Trinidad & Tobago has bigger problems to face as a nation than what language we use to call God.

But, I digress there are some interesting facts about Islam in Madeleine Albright’s book, The Mighty & The Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs. Specifically Part Two, Chapter Eight: Learning About Islam. She laid out some basic information which would be more beneficial to someone curious about Islamic countries, than reading and misinterpreting excerpts of the Qur’an. An excerpt can be very misleading and easily perverted to suit evil intentions. For example:

6Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.” – Ezekiel Chapter 9:6 (Old Testament)

It’s hard for people to embrace true diversity when they’ve never actually seen it. I believe that the USA, like my native land has bigger problems to face as a nation than what language people use to call God. Poverty, hunger, human trafficking, drug abuse, unemployment, domestic violence, a struggling economy, people losing their homes and children growing up homeless plague a country that has long symbolised freedom and equality for all. Perhaps volunteering for a charity, foundation or church ministry would be a better way to effect change. Quite frankly, there are reality-shows more deserving of a boycott campaign, like Jersey Shore or anything related to The Bad Girls Club. Surely they are doing more damage to society and twisting our children’s minds as much as anything else.