Tolerance must prevail

I attended the session about Islam and I fully concur with every aspect of your article on this event, including the absence of our community leaders, except for two high ranking RCMP officers.

Notwithstanding, the event was an exercise in positive dialogue between Muslims and our community and much appreciated by the overwhelming majority of those in attendance. Yes, there was one close minded attendee who stormed out of the hall and a couple of others who seemed to desire an argumentative debate on the merits of Christianity versus Islam. That was not the purpose of the day.

Other than those episodes, I felt Muhammed William Saleh kept the audience captivated by his ability to create respectful dialogue.

This is the second time I have heard Saleh speak. The first being at a Vernon Interfaith gathering a few weeks ago.

He is an energetic, articulate, knowledgeable and accomplished speaker and one I hope to hear from again.

We all know acquaintances and friends who espouse bigotry and racism spawned by ignorance, hatred and an unwillingness to open eyes, ears and hearts in order to see, hear and understand. In this country, we are free to believe in our chosen religion or to be an agnostic or atheist. It’s easy to cherry-pick a verse from the Bible or Quran to support ill-informed opinions of Islam or Christianity. On the other hand, understanding and accepting others requires respectful dialogue and self-education. Hatred is easy to exhibit. Acceptance and love takes commitment and understanding. As Martin Luther King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that.” That quote has a solid foundation in both the Bible and Quran.

Vernon should be proud to have someone like Muhammed William Saleh in our community. He offers all Muslims and non-Muslims a great service as a community leader.

Gord Adams