My three-week sojourn in this beautiful land with my husband in February of this year had a two-fold purpose: to go on a spiritual journey and to pursue our respective academic interests, that is, to engage in intercultural communication and the study of Turkish culture and communication behavior and to delve into Islamic spirituality and philosophy.
From Islamophobia to Islamophilia
Some insights towards inter-religious solidarity and a better society
In our society, we need to bring back an appreciation of silence and contemplation in our lives.
We have neglected a sense of restraint and sobriety in our society. We need to bring back and cultivate a sense of modesty, moderation, gentle manners, and a sense of discipline in our daily conduct.
We need to emphasize Muslim-Christian unity at a time when some malevolent forces try to foment conflict between these two main religions in the world.
My trip to Turkey was made possible through the kindness of some very good and pious Muslims who treated us with great kindness, generosity, and hospitality. My immersion in Turkey enabled me to eat with many Muslim sisters, talk and share with them about different things, express love and affection for them through hugging and kissing, and even pray with them. These made me feel a sense of oneness with all Muslim brothers and sisters not just in Turkey but all over the world. By sharing this experience, I hope that we can better appreciate the need to see humanity as “one community, one body, one brotherhood” (Sezai, Jan./Feb. 2007, p. 13).
We need to foster sensitivity to the needs of the poor and the oppressed, and to work for social justice – even to the point of institutionalizing zakat or charity to the poor.
These insights and recollections from my three-week sojourn in Turkey, I hope, can provide inspiration for us to go on our goal of fostering inter-religious solidarity at the local and international levels and of building a more just, a more refined, and a more spiritual Philippine society.
*Belinda F. Espiritu is an assistant professor of English, Literature, and Humanities at the University of the Philippines Cebu College and is a Protestant Christian. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Send feedback and comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org