Recently two aging parishioners were lucky enough to visit the Great Silk Road in Uzbekistan. The road has existed for millennia and the great cities of Tashkent, Samarkand Bokhara and Khiva were cities of great learning where silks and spices, especially from China were traded for European ideas and contact. Of note is that these cities tolerated the great world religions that lived and intermingled together on the great routes connecting East and West. Intermarriage was common. There are now major infrastructural projects been built to reconnect Europe and Asia by road, rail and air.
We live in a world experimenting again with exclusion, hatred and obfuscation rearing their heads despite the obvious post war advantages of working in harmony and supporting the intermingling of different peoples. Europe has been a beacon in that regard. Uzbekistan is a safe and gentle outpost of Islam where there is little exclusion or distrust.
The cities are clean and safe and the great Mosques and Madrassahs (schools) stand in monument to their great cultural and scientific achievements. Astronomy, Medicine and writing skills with papermaking and bookmaking were developed in the area under Islamic control.
There are many now who preach a distrust of Islam. Myths abound about what that religion actually teaches. The Koran does not preach intercommunal strife and exclusion, it rather preaches and teaches tolerance and hospitality to different races and faiths. To blame Muslims for the evils of a few of their more extreme adherents is like the blame attributed to the Irish as a race for IRA atrocities. Christians also committed atrocities in the name of the Bible over the centuries.
Many of our new Irish neighbours are of the Muslim faith. They are our neighbours; we welcome them into our community and we look forward to their cultural and economic input which will definitely be an advantage to us all.
After all, we are admonished in this contracting world to love our neighbour.
St Mary's Parish
All are invited to a meeting to plan our parish Gathering. This Meeting will take place on Saturday May 18th from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm in the Parish Centre. This is an opportunity to be part of shaping the future of St. Mary’s Parish, and we are hoping for a good turnout.