THE EDITOR, Sir:
Just imagine a world in which everyone respects the sacred place of the Prophet Muhammad. Imagine a Jamaica in which everyone respects the equality of Rastafarianism and Revivalism with other religious expressions. And imagine a Jamaica in which the major political parties know that their seats of authority were not guaranteed.
Many Christians do not know that Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. That is why religious education - comparative religion - is so important in schools. It reminds us that in the real world, people think and believe differently. It reminds us that respect for the Prophet Muhammad is not an affront to one's belief in Jesus Christ. It is worthy of note that the Holy Koran acknowledges the historical Jesus.
Do we truly regard our sisters and brothers in their faith traditions of Rastafarianism and Revivalism for examples? How many persons would support the appointment of a Revivalist sister as a school chaplain? 'Out of Many, One People' is, indeed, a hope and journey!
Speaking of thinking and believing differently, it is unfortunate that a very important text for grade seven to nine students had to be fortunately removed from use. Unfortunate, because our children must live in the real world where there are many shapes, sizes, colours, and cosmologies. Fortunate, because it is absolutely unnecessary for grade seven to nine pupils to be imposed upon with very personal questions, which many may have found rather offensive.
The attendant consequences had the potential of doing more than just insulting the good intentions of parents whose sacred trust has been placed in the leadership of our schools.
When ignorance is encouraged, the door is flung wide open for old wives' tales, unenlightened cultural biases, diseases, bullying, and the spread of religious intolerance!
Healing in the Middle East is an imperative, if the rest of the world is going to realise stability. Similarly, a just social order in Jamaica is inseparable from a corruption-free political directorate.
An excellent paradigm for years to come will be the mission of civil society with its cross-cultural and multi-interest approach. Individuals of different political, religious, and philosophical positions are uniting in the interest of all!
How will you do something new, as you play your part, in being an agent of justice and peace? What will you do to dispel ignorance, as we seek to increase light for all? May we become more 'common good'-centred, and radically change our self-destructive thesis!