09 March 2009

Islam, like all faiths, has many faces

The architecture of the Friday Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, may be more visually impressive, but the shrine of Gazargah, where the Sufi poet Abdullah Ansari is buried, is sublime. Ansari lived between 1006 and 1089 and his shrine, while deteriorating, exudes tranquility, making it a popular destination for pilgrims and contemplatives.

Today is the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed and the exhortations of the mullahs, amplified by public address systems, carried from the mosques this morning to the surrounding areas and to my residence in Kabul. Sometime the faithful responded in loud applause, other times religious music was pumped over the PA, but everytime I hear “men of peace” ranting, irrespective of their particular faith tradition, I am disappointed and uneasy.

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