Love Conquers Everything If We Give Peace A Chance

Man 3Muslims praying in a Jewish Synagogue

After Mosque Arson, This Synagogue Opened Its Doors to Muslims in Need of a Place to Pray

by Rafi Schwartz : Original article published in ‘Good- A magazine for the Global Citizen

Sometimes it seems as if the world is full of nothing but sectarian violence and interfaith animosity. In Peterborough, Ontario, however, an act of hate intended to tear a city apart has instead brought it closer together.

The Masjid al-Salaam mosque serves a Muslim community of around 1,000. On November 14, that community suddenly found itself without a place to worship after a fire—believed to be deliberately set in what police are investigating as a “hate crime”—destroyed Peterborough’s only Muslim prayer space, causing a reported $80,000 in damages. It’s an attack that shocked the city, and drew immediate condemnation from Mayor Darryl Bennett, who called the arson “totally out of character” for his community, echoing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he was “deeply disturbed,” reports CBC.ca.

In response to the attack, Peterborough’s Jewish community has stepped up and offered their prayer space to the temporarily displaced mosque members as place where they can worship. Larry Gillman, president of the city’s Beth Israel Synagogue, told The Canadian Jewish News: “I immediately sent an email to our board with the idea of sharing our space with the Muslim community, realizing that they were not going to have a place to pray in the meantime.”

Since extending their invitation, Beth Israel has hosted a number of prayer sessions for the mosque’s members, as well as an interfaith potluck dinner. Children from the synagogue greeted their guests with a large, handmade banner reading “Welcome Friends,” hung across the wall of the makeshift prayer space.

Canadian media outlet CityNews reported from the scene:

To that end, the synagogue also shares its space with the local Unitarian Fellowship.

Speaking with CBC.ca, Masjid al-Salaam president Kenzu Abdella described a sense of trepidation after receiving the synagogue’s offer, but “within 24 hours, that changed. [Synagogue representatives] walked to the mosque and told us that whatever we need, they will support us.”

Even though it came out of a tragedy,” he added, “we are working together.”

In addition to the temporary prayer space, a crowdfunding effort raised over $110,000 to cover the cost of the mosque’s reconstruction.

We’re so grateful to everyone,” Abdella told The Canadian Jewish News. “It’s not just the financial aspect that really makes us very proud to be Canadian and proud to be a part of the Peterborough community, but the comments we’ve received in support …

http://magazine.good.is/articles/peterborough-synagogue-mosque-arson-beth-israel-masjid-al-salaam

Why Do Some People Risk It All To Cheat To Be Famous?

Johnson 5Cyclist Lance Armstrong, athlete Ben Johnson and author E.J. Ellory, deceived the world to the top, before their cups were full.

Do you feel restless and uneasy at times, because you want to achieve something but you feel lacking behind? Do you feel scared of failure in whatever you want to achieve in life sometimes, because things are not moving in your favour? Do you feel stagnant without progress in whatever project you are handling? It is part of life since people are passionate about things and as human beings we are likely to feel this way sometimes.

The question is: When engulfed in such times of uncertainty and fear, how do we handle it? People are dying to be famous. In pursuit of fame and success many take certain short routes which put them into shameful situations they have to live with it for the rest of their lives. No easy way to success. Success usually comes through hard work and sacrifice but why do some people prefer to cheat?

Ben Johnson

In 1988, Ben ‘The Bullet’ Johnson recorded one of the fastest times in athletic history in Seoul Olympic Games, after winning 100m gold medal.   The Canadian was stripped of his 100m gold medal after testing positive for drugs. Johnson claimed that herbal drink he consumed before the race caused his downfall, but the Olympic Committee didn’t accept this.

Samples of Johnson’s urine were tested for drugs immediately the third day after the 100m final which he won in a world record time of 9.79 seconds. Olympic officials confirmed that traces of the anabolic steroid, Stanozol, were found in his system. “A tragedy for Johnson and a great sadness for all Canadians,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Ben Johnson’s drug scandal was neither the first nor the last. Many athletes failed drug tests, including Marion Jones, who used banned substances.

Lance Armstrong has hundreds of fans worldwide, because great people inspire others. At the peak of his successful career, he placed eleventh in the World Championship Road Race with the best time of any American since 1976. From 1999 to 2005, Lance Armstrong consecutively won seven Tour de France titles, giving hope to other cancer patients as a cancer survivor. After a successful career, the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his seven tour titles he had won and banned him from competing in cycling for life.

According to the Anti-Doping Agency, Lance Armstrong had used banned performance enhancing substances during the years of his career. Armstrong prior has vehemently denied the claims until January 2013, admitted to doping throughout his entire cycling career., leaving his fans miserably disappointed, as he steps down as chairman of the Livestrong cancer-awareness charity he founded. What a sad situation Armstrong and family have to live with entire lives?

E.J. Ellory admitted using fake identities to write about his work on Amazon. He writes glowing reviews for his own books, giving himself five-star ratings and slamming his competitors’ books. Why an author in the caliber of Ellory chose to live like that without any guilty conscience, while simultaneously criticising his rivals? “The earth provides much to satisfy every man’s need but not to satisfy every man’s greed,” great quote from Mahatma Gandhi.

While cheating is fundamental and part of human behavior many will do it. However, wickedness, evil, cheating and every negative activities men apply to enhance careers, would prevail but only for a little while. When the cup is full they shall be exposed.  Whoever thought R J Ellory, one of British leading authors will fake reviews?  The Birmingham based author, whose novels have sold more than a million copies admitted to cheating.

I don’t blame any of these men, for deceive the public. We are in a society many competing against others, so people are desperate to do anything which could take them to the top. We are in a world if one doesn’t come on television or radio; you are seen as nobody. Many feel comfortable with that but others can’t stand it, that’s where the cheating starts.

If people would take some few minutes to think of some wise proverbs and quotes, they would have saved themselves from disgrace. Yes! “God’s time is the best,” wait patiently and work hard for that success. Again, whatever one sows in life, the same he will reap and so whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. Finally, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln.

Tears On The Equator

A powerful autobiographical tale of spiritual struggle on an equatorial African island.

 

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In the beginning, in 1973, when a young couple met at a seminary in the city of Boston, during a time of great racial tension over an issue called bussing, they dared to share a dream and the dream was about faith, progress, unity, love and sustainable development in Africa. She trained in education, her Canadian husband schooled in medicine.

They would return to the Ugandan paradise island of her youth in Lake Victoria only to discover that beauty hid the beast; that an interracial couple, white and black and their Ancient Orthodox faith would cause a spark which turned verdant fields into flames of conflict. Truths would be told and taboos would be broken. Courage would be unveiled and passions uncovered.

This story is about the glue that maintained the vision until time, politics and war wore it away. It is also about survival and rebirth and the ultimate seeds which gave birth to a new crop of hopes.  “What are you looking at old man?” the young doctor queried. The elder was looking into a rotten log. “I am seeing the face of God,” he smiled standing up, allowing the doctor to see the sun kissed orchid.”

“The face of God,” he said, and so it was, for their five years on Bukasa island uncovered the weaknesses and strengths of this couple and the community around them. That they would fail was inevitable, but that they would survive in a real and mystical way was the hidden treasure.

The Author

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Gerasimos I. Kambites was born in Montreal in 1947. He is a third generation Greek Canadian. Raised in his father’s corner store he read every comic book and most magazines and books that came through the store for 15 years. He went to Sir George Williams University in Montreal from 1965 – 1969, then worked as a Parliamentary journalist for United Press International 1969 – 1973.

He wrote two stories for National Geographic and produced an audio documentary on Mount Athos: In the Fullness of Truth, for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was a videographer for the world’s longest snowmobile expedition in 1973, the Transworld Snowmobile Expedition. That experience led him to Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts.  He then spent six months in Sinai’s St. Katherine’s Monastery.

Having earned a Master’s in Divinity, he went on to medical school at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario before heading to Uganda. He was ordained to the priesthood by the late Metropolitan Vitaly, founded Annunciation Orthodox Church on Bukasa Island and St. Xenia’s of St. Petersburg in Ottawa, eventually leaving the priesthood.

He studied psychiatry in the early nineties and now works as an Orthodox psychotherapist. He and his wife, Ann, are members of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Ottawa. They raise sheep and horses on a farm on the internationally acclaimed Rideau River and Canal System, and continue to support Father Christopher Walusimbi on Bukasa Island.

In 2008 Dr. Kambites took part in National Geographic’s  Genographic DNA tracking program. The greatest irony for him is that his genetic map marks him as having originated in East Africa, in the Northern part of Lake Victoria. By moving to Uganda, in a true sense, he was just coming home.

http://www.amazon.com/Tears-Equator-Gerasimos-I-Kambites/dp/1460245024/