I want to Understand Islam and Muslims Better during Christmas

I am still in a euphoric mood.  My organization, the South Philadelphia EPIC Stakeholders, just hosted a Christmas party for approximately 55 children tonight.  It wasn't a holiday party.  It was a Christmas party.  I spent about 16 hours over the last three working days  shopping for and executing the party.  I wrapped gifts, returned gifts, purchased food and slightly emceed the event.  I give kudos to Angela Griffin for making sure that the children received the gifts they were supposed to receive.

One of my childhood friends was there tonight. Her name is Tina Smith.  She is now Muslim but she wasn't when we were growing up.  I professed to be Catholic but I avoided St. Rita's on most Sundays and went to the Wallace house instead of Sunday Mass.  I was a very intent altar boy at one time.  I did not foresee the troubles that Catholic priests were about to cause this venerable institution but my personal foibles were more than steadfast faith could stand.  Tina recounted how one of the last Christmas' she celebrated before she became Muslim was when her mother passed away.  We were all solemn but happy that she shared.

I wanted to write on this subject because two British citizens were convicted of murder this week for executing a British soldier because he was a soldier.  Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were convicted this week of murdering British soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013.  It was a particularly heinous crime.  They rammed Mr. Rigby with their car and then proceeded to hack at his head until almost severing it from his body.  They then used a 90 year old gun in an attempt to commit suicide by police.  One of the suspects suffered some mental breakdowns while in custody.  In their mind, the crime was an eye for an eye for crimes committed against Muslims by Britain.  I fail to understand how they could have been so incensed while Muslims are killing Muslims in Iraq.

The year 2013 has been the deadliest i Iraq since 2008.  Almost 7,000 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the year.  The country has been plunging deeper into inter-ethnic violence prompted by ever growing tensions between the majority Shiite community and the Sunni minority.  The current conflict has led to the displacement of 1.1 million Iraqis.  Iraq has become subjected to a war of genocide by terrorists targeting all spheres of life.  I observe Muslims here to be some of the most respectful human beings in our society.  In spite of the carnage caused by the bombers on 9/11, I want to see the positive side of a life of piety take effect in our society.  There are many extremes to Islam that I cannot understand.  The Sunni versus Shiite conflict is one which the most devout American Muslims probably cannot condone.

It is ten years since Saddam Hussein was captured and hung.  I still cannot understand if America considers this a victory or not.  As we celebrated Christmas by giving gifts in our small section of South Philadelphia, I am thankful for the peace and lack of bloodshed.  I am thankful for the individuals that came and celebrated with us.  Pastor Danzy, Angela Griffin, Ruby Griffin, Tyrique Glasgow, Stepheni Trott-Battips, Sharon Payton and Khalis.  I wish you a Merry Christmas.  Christians are currently extinct in Iraq and some parts of the world.  I understand my faith better now.  I don't understand car bombs and slaughtering faithful pilgrims while making homages to express their faith.  I stay in my lane and try to keep my Family together. 

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