When my dad was in his middle 90s one of my kids dared to ask, "Grandpa, are there any family secrets we should know about?" Dad grinned his sly smile and nodded. Then he stuck his index finger in the air - a sign that he was about to deliver something important, and then turned to address me. "Your great-grandmother was a Black Turk."
What came to mind was that we were somehow African. I am very blonde, so are my kids. So that was a very surprising, and kind of cool, notion. But
Dad quickly explained. "She was a Mohammedan."
I don't know anything else. Dad was not going to elaborate. Did Great-Grandma convert to Catholicism? Which great grandma was it? He just smiled and shook his head. Family secrets. You can only say so much.
Dad's people come from the Balkans - a place where Christian vs. Muslim hatred and discrimination has been going on for almost a thousand years. It was a crossroads for all kinds of people and all kinds of ideas. The Vikings liked the Balkans - their women made great slaves and were especially adept at spinning. That's how we got named "Slavs" - Vikings would round up a bunch of Slavs and take them back to home to their wives as gifts. I always wondered how I turned out to be a blonde Brozovich, surrounded by dark-haired, brown-eyed siblings...there are Vikings in there somewhere.
Anyway, what I do know is that my dad's people were dirt poor. Their lives were a misery. That's why they came to America, to get away from the cycle of poverty - to have a chance at a new life for themselves, and especially their children. We are talking and thinking about Muslims a lot these days. Please do your homework. Not all of them are rabid, hateful, murderers. Some of them just want to get on with their lives and see their children live to adulthood. Do I think Islam is a good religion? No I don't. But as a Christian, and as a woman with Muslim blood (surprise!) I cannot bring myself to condemn them all. I don't have it in me. And neither did Jesus. Hatred of people- persons, made in the image and likeness of God- should have no place in our hearts.
Do I hate the wickedness and murder and terrorizing, the rape, the torture, the satanic rampaging of those who do evil in the name of their god? Yes! But Muslim people I cannot hate. Pray for the conversion of Muslims. Pray for peace.
I am a Catholic wife, mom and grandma. In 1995, after Bible college and a few years as an Evangelical Missionary, I was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. These are my personal musings on Scripture, prayer, and living close to Jesus.