Salaam, my friends.
This word means peace, or peace be unto you and yes, it’s a traditional Muslim greeting. No, I’m not Muslim, either by culture or religion. I’m an American Christian and I have never been more ashamed.
Salaam, my friends. Peace. You and I have it, right now in this country. Sure, we are a nation divided. Some of us are feeling triumphant, pleased with the way our society is going; some of are learning to live with the constant feeling of dread. Still others are scratching their heads in confusion, unsure about what the hell is going on and wishing life would go back to the way it was before. But we still have peace, fragile and thorny though it may be.
Salaam. Peace be unto you. It’s a greeting not unlike the one found at the Statue of Liberty.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Salaam. Peace be unto you. Well, peace be unto you unless you’re a Muslim from anyone of the countries that our president has banned from our shores.
For them, for the refugees from war-torn areas and victims of horrors such as we cannot imagine here in the US…for them, no peace. No salaam. “But they might be terrorists!” I hear people say. I don’t know whether a small fragment of them might be or not. I don’t know how many might become terrorists now, out of anger and desperation. But I do know what they are, right now: people. People with kids and dreams, failings and gifts. People with nothing left and no place to go. Children who are huddled in airports, denied entry to a country that still dares to call itself foremost of the free world.
I can’t believe this is happening. I remember life in Turkey—I remember living among Muslims. I’ve loved Muslims. I have trusted my life to Muslims. And how many ordinary families like my friends are now sitting in airports right now, their dreams of life lying like shattered glass at their feet? How many will die, because the United States of America closed its border to them?
Maybe this seems like a political post on social media, just one of a million liberal snowflakes complaining about a policy she doesn’t like. But its not political. This is personal, like it is personal to every desperate person who now has nowhere to go and nowhere to turn.
So Salaam, my Muslim neighbors on this fragile planet. Peace be unto you. It’s poor comfort, but please know that there are Americans who are lying awake right now, hurting for the wrong their country has done to you. With all my heart and all my prayers, Salaam. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. This Christian’s prayer tonight is simple. May God bless you and bless those who are good to you. May God protect and keep you. For you my heart is broken.
I cannot believe our Vice President got up in front of a crowd yesterday and said that he valued the most vulnerable lives and then countenance this travesty of our beliefs? Forgive us.