“It takes love to understand that we’re all in this together. It takes courage to come together, demand better and dream bigger, so we can build a world where no one is left behind.” Jagmeet Singh
A few days ago I saw a video of an encounter that a Canadian legislator who I quote above, Jagmeet Singh had with a woman who berated him for being a Muslim although he is Sikh. His response as shown in the video below is inspiring. When asked why he did not tell the woman he was not Muslim, he responded that his response to “Islamaphobia has never been ‘I am not Muslim.’ It has been and will always be that ‘hate is wrong.'” He chose not to correct the woman’s belief that he was Muslim because it was irrelevant in the face of the hate and violence the woman hurled at him. His response was to tell her he loved her and he invited others in the room with him to do the same. The woman eventually leaves when Singh and others choose not to engage her other than to express love. (Click here to see video)
After watching this video, I asked myself whether I would be willing to respond similarly under such circumstances. The choice Singh made is one that many would likely not have made. However, his choice was courageous and necessary if we want a different world where love prevails and guides us all. At the same time, as one friend said to me, it frequently appears that those who are attacked and hated are the ones who are expected to respond with love in what can sometimes be violent situations. It is the same feeling expressed during the Civil Rights Movement when nonviolent protesters were met with violence.
Once again, there are no easy answers. However, one thing is clear: if we want a world that is filled with love and compassion, we must be love and compassion. Violence never leads to love and peace. It just leads to more violence until someone chooses differently. As the saying goes, an eye for an eye leaves us all blind. We must keep ourselves focused on the world we desire to live in. As Singh says, we must demand a better world where everyone is treated humanely with no one left behind.
Yet, just yesterday, I found it challenging to stay grounded in love and compassion when I heard about an eight year old boy who was nearly lynched by teenagers because he is biracial. How does love show up in such a situation? I am still working through that question. At the same time, I know within myself that what I saw in Singh’s actions resonated for me and that my intention is to discover what response best reflects who I am and the faith that love is enough.