An Inclusive Litany

12/4/02

African-American Muslim Murad Kalam comments on his pilgrimage to Mecca, a city in which only Muslims are allowed to set foot, on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," December 4, 2002:
People of rival tribes, sects, even warring countries, rival politics marching side by side.... The beautiful diversity and unity of Mecca is an Islamic phenomenon. It was Meccans, not Americans, who had embraced [Malcolm X], Muslim pilgrims who first judged him by the content of his character.... The profound unity I experienced here was something even more universal than religion. It was a shared deference to the place and the idea of the place. Pilgrims came from all over the world to experience Mecca, like immigrants coming to America in pursuit of a lifelong dream, to feel as an equal. From wherever they came they should not be dissuaded, treated differently, ridiculed, abused. To do so would be to profane the place itself. How familiar. How naive. How American.

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