Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Jason Kennedy: An open letter to Richard Prosser

 From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10865255

Submitter’s Note:

New Zealand MP Richard Prosser recently made some controversial (and “rather ridiculous and ignorant”!) statements about Muslims (and travel) in a column in the Investigate magazine, a “conservative” New Zealand Christian-based publication (one which seems to thrive on getting attention…welcome or otherwise!).

Here is an excellent, warm-spirited and rational response from a New Zealand Muslim, that I thought I’d share with you “out there”. Enjoy…

comments

By Jason Kennedy

5:30 AM Thursday Feb 14, 2013

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Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Khayreyah Wahaab and Jason (Naveed) Kennedy have invited the MP to have dinner with them at their Auckland home to discuss his statements. Photo / Natalie Slade

Dear Mr Prosser,

Unbeknown to myself, I am your enemy.

I consider this strange as I have never met you and harbour no ill will toward you. I am certain that if I walked past you on the street your suspicions would not be raised. If you were a customer in my shop I am certain you would not suspect that I pose your family any risk. For you see, I am Muslim, I am 30, and I am also white. Throw in the fact that I am an American expatriate – accent and all – and I possess quite the subterfuge. After all, I could sit next to you on a flight, our arms negotiating the armrest for space, and you would think nothing of it. And yet if between us the subject of religion arose, my reply would disable you with fear.

Or so your column would lead me to believe.

I am writing an open letter to you out of sympathy, respect, and the desire for understanding. I do not write this so publicly in order to give your opinions greater status than they deserve. Instead, I hope to circumvent your vitriol from tainting the views of other people who, through lack of personal experience with the Muslim community, may be susceptible to your very limited and ignorant view of our religion and families.

I will start by, ironically, providing you with some defence. It is absolutely your right to speak your mind freely with whatever opinions you so wish. That is one of the great liberties of this nation.

But let me be clear: speaking your mind is your right as a private citizen. As a Member of Parliament, you are a public servant, and your public opinions need to be more carefully delivered. You must be aware that the words of MPs are granted greater political legitimacy than those of private citizens.

It is frightening when someone with so much power to sway the opinions of others is so cavalier in his delivery. We entrust MPs to make defensible, rational, and sympathetic judgments in pursuit of the common good. Counter to this, your words seek to generate divisiveness by fostering an indefensible ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.

Do you actually believe Muslims are so different to you that we should be trusted less than any other human being? Wherefore this presumption that those who commit terrible crimes in the name of Islam are actually considered heroes or true Muslims by the rest of us? Are we really so homologous to you? Woe to the Sikh or Hindu who you might accidentally not recognise for a Muslim in your eagerness to incite fear, all the while I, the unrecognisable white Muslim, sits next to you.

For you see, if the subject of religion is never broached between us, you will feel safer the entire trip knowing you sit next to a safe and reliable Pakeha. Let me assure you, I want that plane to land safely just as much as you do. I have family and friends who I want to be around for a good long time, and so do they.

The only reason I can think that you would harbour such ill-sentiment is that you have very little first-hand experience with Muslims. I can relate. I was not born into a Muslim family. However, with age I came to recognise my beliefs were congruent with Islam. That seemed a bit of a scary prospect, as I am sure you can appreciate that there is a great deal of Islamophobia in the United States, as well.

Once I actually met some Kiwi Muslims, I quickly realised my presumptions were entirely inaccurate. Muslim culture is not some monolithic fiction. Muslims are just like the majority of Kiwis: we love our summer barbecues, we avidly follow the All Blacks’ domination of rugby, we wear jandals, we buy fush n’ chups down the road. You see, Muslims come from all different backgrounds. I was born in the US and descend from Irish stock. My wife was born in Fiji, and her Indian ancestors were relocated during the British slave trade. Many Kiwi Muslims are from India, the Middle East, east Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia. We have all come here to share in what it means to be Kiwi. Between us we have a similar pathway to God, but we also respect that every non-Muslim is on their own pathway to God.

Your family and my family, we are each equally Kiwi, despite the fact that we may worship differently. We are equal to you in many other ways: my wife and I both happily pay the highest tax rate, our business creates revenue and employment for many New Zealanders, and our education benefits the New Zealand economy. We are even socially and politically active (gasp!).

If you think supporting terror is somehow intrinsic to Islam, or is somehow an inevitability of our religion, ask anyone in the Muslim community here: no one supports any act of violence or terror against any other living being, human or animal. That is what we call haram in Islam, which means “forbidden by God”. We have no support for terrorists who do such horrible things, and we cannot understand how they can call themselves Muslims. Their actions are entirely incompatible with Islam.

In order to establish better communication on this issue, my wife and I would like to invite you to dinner at our place the next time you are in Auckland. We would like to hear your story, and we would like to share ours. I believe that if you would grant us the pleasure of your company, it will give you a much more enlightened perspective on Muslims and Islam in general. I will leave my contact details with the editor if you wish to make good on our offer.

Two enemies who wish
to be your friends,
Jason (Naveed) Kennedy and
Khayreyah Wahaab

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10865255

Shared by craig

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. ” – craig

About the submitter:

In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

These writings may be freely published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

PPS

God is a mystery, a Creative Presence, the mystery, the Ultimate Source of Life, the Fountain of all Goodness, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”

“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”

May YOU all find and experience the richness of God’s Mercy, Infinite Love and Grace

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3 Responses to “Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.”

  1. craiglock Says:

    Reblogged this on Let's Break Dawn Barriers and Build Bridges .

  2. Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser. | ChristianBookBarn.com Says:

    […] Recommended Article FROM https://buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/auckland-muslim-jason-kennedy-penned-this-open-l… […]

  3. craiglock Says:

    Hi
    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”
    MANY MORE COMMENTS OVERNIGHT (many, already on this blog (together with hundreds of thousands on my various other blogs…true!) …so hope it’s not slowing down your loading speed!). Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share.
    Am having to remove many and so sorry can’t reply individually, but DO try to read as many as possible daily
    so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    http://peacepursuit.wordpress.com/
    http://breakdownwalls.wordpress.com/

    The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 and http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!
    PPS

    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

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