Towards Tolerance

I used to be very ignorant about faiths other than christianity (and I knew very little about that until I went to christian youth camps), but since September 11, 2001, I have made a conscious effort to learn more about the major religions. I still don’t know very much, but I do know that despite my upbringing that encouraged tolerance and acceptance, I was still ignorant, and a little intolerant.

I didn’t understand why a woman would choose to take the veil, and I was appalled by stories of female genital mutilation, and young suicide bombers being revered as martyrs. And then the whole thing about being rewarded with virgins.

Goes to show that only knowing one side of a story is never going to allow a balanced understanding of an issue. So I started looking for the other side of the story – not easy.

I’ve read “Nine Parts of Desire”, expecting a balanced view of the women of Islam, but was saddened to see that the author didn’t want to bust a sterotype, only perpetuate it.

So if anyone can point me towards a book that shows the other side of the veil, something that can help me to understand why women of intelligence choose islam, I’d be very interested.

This all came up because I read about the Tolerant World organisation at another website.

Here is their mission statement…

To offer young people in Asia the Middle East and around the world – especially those who are already disenfranchised – the ability to join and become a leader in a movement whose ideology they can passionately believe in and through which they can bring about real change in the world. This movement will be a peaceful and positive alternative to the evil ideologies offered by terror organizations and the like.
The Movement’s ultimate objective is to defeat the evil ideology of terrorism, fascism and bigotry and establish world tolerance and therefore peace. All programs initiated by movement revolve around this objective. Currently the following six broad programs have been initiated.

A link to their site here.

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