I am a Muslim.
My son was seven years old on 9/11. I picked him up from school that day in tears. He told me that his teacher had said in a class discussion “all Muslims are terrorists.”
He asked me if we were terrorists.
That was when my journey into activism began. I knew I had to do something about blind misunderstanding, and about those who pass judgment without information about another’s faith.
It was at that time I was fortunate to encounter a diverse group whose members came from all religions and who welcomed and empowered me. We worked in solidarity. Such solidarity is critical. We must preserve that culture of diversity and unity in Los Angeles, which has to be a beacon of hope—one that gives a strong message to our country and to the whole world.
I knew I had to do something about blind misunderstanding, and about those who pass judgment without information about another’s faith.
Which brings me to the subject of this article: the misinterpretation of Scientology scripture in Los Angeles Superior Court, where the sacred texts of the Church of Scientology were misunderstood, taken out of context, and embedded into a decision which stated, wrongly, what Scientologists believe. I have read the Church’s scriptures. They plainly say the opposite of what was asserted by a judge. The rules of epistemology are complex and require careful scrutiny. A negative, wrongful judicial interpretation alone will create incredible stigma and defame a respected theology.
This breach of the separation of state and religion crosses the line of what the supreme law of our nation, our Constitution, stands for. This is not merely an opinion, but an attack on a particular faith—an attack on a minority religion that could haunt us for years to come. It sends a powerful message for us in the interfaith community that we must come together and say this is not acceptable in our city.
In the words of Dr. King, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
What is the point of preaching my religion, if my brother or sister is hurt because of his?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, states that we all have the right to our own beliefs, to have a religion, or to have no religion, and to change it. Freedom of religion is one of the most revered, sacred and inviolable of rights. This gives a special obligation to the state to guarantee such freedom, and to deal with all faiths on an equal footing.
We are blessed that we live in the United States because religious freedom is enshrined in the law of our land.
We must cherish and protect it. It is very important.