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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Praying for Whose Conversion, As the Saudis Prepare For Another Display of Barbarism?

Ceremonial beheadings in public squares have been held in Saudi Arabia for centuries
Horrifying picture, right? (not the worst available)
What does it have to do with ones prayer life?

I understand, or at least, think I understand, that one prays I pray, not that God should change others - but that He should change me, the one who prays. We pray for metanoia.
The only person I have any control over really, is myself, so, "Oh, God, please make Mr.s Abercrombie forget to give us that math test I didn't study for, " is kinda dumb, what I'd need to pray for is the strength and common sense to... well, study my math.
So why was I disquieted by this article when I read it last week?
a lifelong Catholic says that getting to know and love Islam helped her develop a deep knowledge and love for her own Catholic faith. ... a 24-year-old research fellow at The Bridge Initiative, a new project of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington. 
...What really stirred her passion was a political email she received during her junior year of high school, forwarded enthusiastically by a family member. 
.... The email equated Muslims with the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. “I was so upset by this, that a practicing Catholic would send such a thing,” [she] says. “My mom took me by the shoulders and said, ‘That’s why you have to write.’"
Isn't that it exactly? You want God to grant greater understanding between people of different faiths, different nations?
YOU need to understand.
So this young woman helping her fellow Catholics, her fellow Christians, her fellow Americans to understand the "other," that's underneath it all isn't really so "other," that's the way to go, right?

So, why?
Why did I find it troubling? (It was one of those times when I forgot which Catholic periodical I was reading and couldn't understand my almost visceral disagreement with an outlet with whose editorial slant I usually agree -- aha! what a relief, it really is the principle, not the messenger of the principle to which I am reacting!)

So I did a little more reading and reasoned it was not with the young Catholic woman, but with the people with whom she had thrown in her lot, that I was feeling a bit queasy.
I mean, a " bridge" should go both ways, right?
But this seemed all about getting Westerners copacetic with Arabs, Christians accepting of Muslims, all funded by a fabulously wealthy, (self-made,) member of the Saudi royal family.
The Bridge Initiative took notice and approached her earlier this year as they began setting up a new project aimed at educating the [American] public about Islamophobia. Now she works there full time, researching and writing about Islamophobia in the West.
So that's my quibble - good, we need to work on changing us.
But Prince Alwaleed bin Talal? Maybe look to your own palace  home, first?
Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of firebrand Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, faces execution by beheading and an additional rare punishment of "crucifixion," which means publicly displaying the body after death as a warning to others, according to Saudi state media.
"Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offense, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia's international obligations," the U.N. group said in a statement Tuesday, invoking the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

Arrested as a teenager

Ali al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested for taking part in Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012 calling for social and political reforms in the country's restive and predominantly Shiite province of Qatif.
A court later convicted him of charges including belonging to a terror cell, attacking police with Molotov cocktails, incitement, and stoking sectarianism, according to the state media report.
His final appeal was rejected when the Appeals Court and High Court ratified his verdict last week.

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