Posted by Kip Redick at 8:25 PM
This blog is super random but this exhibition was really cool so I thought I would share it. The reason I was invited is because my mom introduced a Muslim family to our small (and narrow minded) town and got them situated without having to go through the whole new place with no friends thing. So to return the favor they invited us to this exhibition explaining their religion and what they view as their duty in life, which is to improve the quality of life for all people, even those that do not agree with their beliefs, which I think is noble considering the fact that most of the people from my town would give them a funny look just for looking different.
Anyway, their Islamic branch is known as the Ismaili Imamat, and they follow (currently) the 49th Imam, Prince Aga Khan. The exhibit was basically a compilation of all of their efforts throughout the world so that we could get an idea of just how committed they were to improving lives. The projects that they have completed include schools, hospitals, businesses, loan and business education opportunities, as well as some behind the scenes diplomatic work to resolve national conflicts.
Just before I got the event I called one of my friends from high school to ask her if she knew anything about the religion, because I knew she was Muslim, and it turns out that her father was a leader in the Ismaili Imamat Church in our area and he was responsible for setting up the exhibition! I was really excited to hear this because I had no idea what I was walking into. She explained to me a little bit of what it was about and called her dad to let him know I would be there. After I got the tour of the exhibit my parents and I talked with her parents about the purpose of the event and they said that to do the kind of work that they want to do, FOR US mind you, they needed to make connections and for friendships in their new community. In southern America Muslims have a terrible reputation, and are treated as such, but this particular denomination is all about community serve and improvement of quality of life for all people.
It is a shame that more people don’t respect and work with them to accomplish such a selfless goal. This was a good experience for me because I feel like it opened my eyes to a lot of injustice and a lot of gumming of the gears of progress on behalf of narrow minded townsfolk that judge based on reputation and appearance, of which I was once.
To relate this to the class, I will use an example form one of their missions. They could not cross a certain river, or get anything across to the neighboring country to spread their ideologies, so they used giant speakers and Prince Aga Khan gave a speech to the people of the other country, gather on the neighboring shore. This is an example of a time when written word could not convey a message the way that orality could.