In 2011, one of my Christian friends Kristen was on my team to invite people to attend the “Holocaust and Genocides” event – I am blessed to be first Muslim in the world who regularly commemorates the event to develop understanding between people of different faiths, races and ethnicities. More at www.HolocaustandGenocides.com
The following weekend, there was an art exhibit by a Russian artist and about 150 people came to the event, Kristen was there and was excited to call on her Jewish friends to attend the event, she came back disappointed for the silent stares she was getting. She asked me to join her to invite another couple down in the corner sipping wine.
So here it goes, Kristen introduces me, “Rosie, this is Mike, and we are here to invite you to a celebration of the Jewish Holocaust event…” Literally, I fell off my chair, I had to cut her in, sorry Rosie, it is a Holocaust Memorial event, and it is a reflection on the cruelties within each one of us and how to put it off and learn to say Never again. It is a somber event….’ There was a relief on the face of Rosie and her husband. We carried the conversation forward and they did join us along with a few other friends.
Like Kristen most of us make the mistake, whenever there is a gathering of people, we associate it with celebration. To understand this, it is like inviting a friend, “Please join me at the funeral home, and they are celebrating the death of our friend Mike, who passed away yesterday,” Personally, that is what I would want to happen upon my death, but most people including my wife, my kids and grand kids may not appreciate it.
This is the first time in 10 years that I have not organized the Holocaust and Genocides commemoration event, it’s a difficult event for many to attend, yet an average of 300 brave souls have made it each time. As a Muslim, why do I commemorate? The answer is in this article at Huffington Post called Holocaust and the Muslim Guy. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html)
“Festivals of the World” is an educational series published by Mike Ghouse since 1993. When we live in the same communities as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or at least understand each other’s’ joys and sorrows. Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively. This is too elementary for the followers of the faith, but informational to those who are not aware of the tradition.