Teach our children

Let us provide them strength to withstand the forces of fanaticism and ignoranceMehru Jaffer ViennaM arch 8 is International Women's Day. A cause for celebration?I am inspired this month to share some thoughts about the collective future of our children with all mothers, particularly Muslim mothers.At a time when Muslims are chosen to appear at the eye of every storm let us publicly pledge to expose to our children the role of religious rogues who offer money to young people to kill other human beings and who encourage youngsters to blow up precious lives as suicide bombers.Especially those of us, who are believers, let us repeat to children that life is a gift of god and god alone has the right to take it.That it is never up to us mortals to judge those who choose not to care very much for the sacred. Let the creator of the world, the only one, but known today by different names given by different communities speaking different languages, deal with those who may have strayed from the straight path.Today there are more than one billion Muslims in the world and half of this population is below the age of 25 years. Let us inspire children to look forward to the future without fear even as we continue to learn from lessons of the past.Let us not dilute the spirit of our legacy with profanities but to remind children about the timeless wonder and contentment of simply being born. Let us provide strength to children by insisting that the practice of modesty and patience, especially in moments of adversity, are an essential part of life. Let us enjoy the song we sing but without adding discord to the song of others.We must not forget to tell our children that we have allowed ourselves to be shrouded under a veil embroidered in cartoon-like stereotypes. Let us throw this hijab away so that we can practice what we preach under the glare of the sun. If we indeed believe in the submission of the ego, in the on-going struggle between good and evil within each one of us along with peaceful co-existence with all our fellow human beings then let us show this with actions, with what we do during every moment of our waking hour. War is the weapon of the weak. Let us boycott all armed forces around the world and help children to look to alternative careers. Let us explore a more dignified way to stand up to increasing greed and violence in the world and against all those who are trying their best to instil fear in our children.We must talk very often to children about hope, and the joy of being alive. For children must live in order to challenge the corrupt and greedy despots at home and their immoral friendship with those abroad.Children must live to be able to debate and dialogue with dictators and pseudo-democrats alike. Let us imagine for our children even more graceful tools that will help them to make their dreams come true. Let us find out if ignorance is as debilitating a disease as hunger and unemployment. Let us begin now tohelp children to put into context the frustration and fury they face today and to pin-point any role that we might have played in helping conquerors and colonisers throughout human history to exploit us?Apart from the literal interpretation of the word of god let us put our heads together and explore with children also the philosophical and metaphorical realms of religion and its growing need in a materialistic world. Let us take the time to listen to our children tell us what fantasies fill their mind about the reality they perceive and the one they crave to experience.Let us unlock all the different gates of creativity for children to allow individuals to interpret life and to later witness the rainbow of views rhyme in consensus to the will of the majority.Let us continue to practice, and to insist on the importance of morality and ethics in all spheres of life, especially public life without fear of being branded a traditionalist. Never let a "modern" or "liberal" ever prevent us from enjoying our ancient cuisine, language or landscape, we should tell our children. It is in our own interest to let all religious fanatics, secular fanatics and politicians of every ideology know that they will enjoy zero credibility amongst our children till they are able to behave themselves in public, as well as in their private lives. For the life of our children cannot be reduced to just the economy, stupid!

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