A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Learning the Meaning of Hospitality in Tangier

My daughter and I have spent the past week in Tangier in the home of an incredibly generous family. This family of devoted Muslims took us in at the urging of their son, Mohammed, whom we never met in person. Before reaching Seville, we had asked Mohammed (who attends university there) for a place to stay through couchsurfing. He hadn't been able to host us in Seville, but said his family would take us in in Tangier. We nevertheless looked for other hosts in Tangier, as the couchsurfing rule in Spain had been that if you asked for ten places to stay, you might get one. As it turned out, not only did Mohammed's family take us in and insist that we stay, but nearly everyone we asked in Tangier accepted us as guests. We ultimately had to turn them all down but one, who we agreed to meet for tea.
 The meeting for tea turned out to be an all expenses paid trip to the Grottoes of Hercules, an impressive seaside cavern near Tangier, and later in the evening tea at one of Tangier's more prestigious caf├ęs. Zakaria, as our day host is called, would have also treated us to lunch at the Grottoes of Hercules if we hadn't already been committed to lunch at our host family's home. Zakaria is already arranging for us to stay with his parents in Fes, and having learned our lesson we won't ask for any other hosts.
Both Zakaria and Said, who is the head of the family hosting us, are devoted Muslims, though you wouldn't know it by their appearances. Neither of them wear djalabas, and young Zakaria could pass for a student at any American university. And as devoted Muslims, both insist on true Islam as a religion of peace. Both of them    support and understand this pilgrimage, not only as a pilgrimage for peace but as a calling; both of them unhesitatingly support a peaceful resolution for Palestine and Israel; and both believe in peace and understanding between all cultures and faiths.
How is it that so many so-called Christians in my country clamor for war against Islam when these very devoted Muslims (neither Zakaria nor Said are 'lukewarm' about their faith) desire only peace?
Tomorrow Olivia and I will continue our walk for peace, going south towards Tetouan and Chefchaouen, but only with great hesitation. We will miss our hospitable and loving hosts, true Muslims who are examples for all who claim to love God.
Said, Badia, Houda, Ayoub: shukran and bslama; we hope to see you again.
Zakaria and Majda, the same.
Peace to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment