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Egypt’s first democratically elected president promises pluralism!

Sam expressing solidarity with Ethiopian friend Abdulrehman and Egyptian colleague Waleed. Says Sam, “We hope the very best for Egypt’s new democracy.”

New Egyptian president promotes religious reconciliation and pluralism

Today we can certainly be enouraged by what’s happening in Egypt as the new Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is appointing both a woman and a Christian as vice presidents of the new democracy and promises he will give them “significant powers” in the new democratically elected government. Watch and learn from the video clip below!

When Jana, Janulik and I were living in Tujunga, California, my wife got her US teaching certificate from the University of California, taking courses at UCLA and UC Northridge. Morsi was a professor at UC Northridge!

President Morsi has both the education and the experience to understand western societies and to guide the new Egyptian democracy towards freedom and religious pluralism.

Thank you, Annapolis Quaker Friends!

I thank all my Annapolis Quaker friends for holding my Muslim friends and me in the Light!

Until I received your recent e-mail, I had not realized the extensive financial support and involvment of my Annapolis Quakers during the time of the Middle East Peace Conference in Annapolis and in particular your specific, strong, past and present support for the Geneva Accord promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Your recent e-mail from the Annapolis Peace and Justice Center is wonderfully encouraging! Once again, my heart is gladdened.

My Muslim friends say I’m a “son of the road”

Thank you, also, for passing on your kind, supportive words about my endeavors here in Jeddah. Dr. Safi Kaskas, his staff and I salute our Annapolis Quaker Friends. Today, Safi and I were translating together a passage from the Qur’an which instructs Muslims to care for those who are deemed financially unfortunate in life. It reads, “Righteousness is not a matter of turning your faces eastward or westward (in religious gestures). Rather, righteousness is believing in God and in the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, giving your precious money to relatives, orphans, the poor, travelers, and beggars, freeing slaves, performing prayers, paying the poor-tax, keeping promises, and enduring misery and adversity in time of threat. It is they who have proved themselves true, and it is they who are conscious of God” (Chapter 2, verse 177).

Safi and I, while discussing each word of this verse, had some lengthy discussion when translating the Arabic word for “traveler,” as certainly there are many who travel who either don’t need financial support or other forms of help. When we examined the Arabic word, we found it says literally “sons (or people) of the road.” It could be used for emigres or immigrants, fellow citizens who are unemployed and travelling in search of work, people who are homeless, or people who have recently relocated to another country after fleeing from war or persecution. It could also refer to individuals who have left all, at the calling of God, to serve him in another land.

So it has been determined by my fellow Muslims here that I, Sam Shropshire, am a “son of the road”! Maybe I should rename my blogsite “Son of the Road”!

It’s rather comical, in a sense, as Safi pointed out, “Because of your strong stand for religious reconciliation and solidarity with Muslims a very few may consider you to be a ‘son of a’! But here in Saudi Arabia, by God and your Muslim friends, you’re appreciated and loved as a ‘son of the road!'”

The Prophet Isaiah speaks a similar message to us today

After re-reading the above verses from the Qur’an, I began thinking of the words of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 58). He was explaining to Israel the difference between self-righteousness and true righteousness. He also addressed care for “people of the road,” or as he called them, “poor wanderers.” He said:

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. Why have we fasted,’they say,’ and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled  ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”

God’s response to self-righteousness:

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard   on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting   I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: ‘Here I am!’

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

Pray for Egypt and President Morsi. And pray for the Syrian people as they struggle for freedom and democracy–that they will soon know peace. Continue to hold my Muslim friends and me in the light!

Your “son of the road”! ~ Sam


June 27, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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