I am writing in response to the Feb. 2 article “Breaking Bread with Imam.” I think the article really touched on how close-minded we can be as a country. The question was asked, “Can we only feel secure when we demonize another race or religion?” And I believe that is true. I think we find it easier to demonize a general culture than to take the time and effort to understand it. We tend to fear what is unknown to us, and rather than expanding the horizons to uncover the unknown, we close ourselves off.
I think this reveals how desperately we need to expand our sociological imagination. We fear this culture because of what a small percentage of individuals affiliated with it have done. We are linking an entire culture to one stereotype, and we need to take the time to put ourselves in the shoes of those we are opposed to. We cannot hate them for something we think they are.
You said, a few weeks later you visited the mosque with its beautiful tile works, rugs, and was even introduced to readings from the Koran. There was a very open atmosphere where everyone spoke truths, and bread was broken in the end. If we could all try to at least empathize, as you did, we could perhaps gain a better perspective of these people. We could be open to a beautiful culture rather than live in fear.