A cartoon shows a pair of dog turning their backs on an exhibition about cats one of them remarks, ‘I didn’t like it’. I think we can all see a common human trait in that cartoon dog that automatically discounts any story told by or about cats. As soon as we hear something about another ethnic group, or about another faith or culture or we come across something unfamiliar. We pretend there is no relevance in it for us. Consequently we erect barriers around ourselves, which unless broken will lead to prejudice and unfair discrimination.
Last week the Muslim community launched a beautiful pamphlet about Islam. At the launch ceremony there were politicians, Christian priests, teachers, public sector workers and business men. The aim was to help build bridges and to dismantle mental barriers about Muslims. The leaflet describes the peace loving nature of Islam, how many of us know that Islam laid the foundations of modern science, the special and unique role of Muslim women in society. The leaflet challenges many of the untrue myths and ignorance about the Islamic faith.
Being open minded not only widens our horizons but helps in building bridges across cultural and religious gulfs.