Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sri Lanka 9 - Loudspeakers!

I am staying near Mutwal Jumma Mosque shown here. I can see the minaret clearly through my kitchen window.

More noticeably, however, five times a day the loudspeakers announce Allahu Akbar!  God is great! (and the rest of the adhan). Having visited Muslim places before, I am used to it.  But it can be jarring sometimes no matter how accustomed you are to Muslim practice.  In fact, that is the point - the announcement is supposed to jar you out of the secular sphere and into prayer. 

FYI - Muslims, like Catholics, comprise about 7% of the population of Sri Lanka.  For comparison sake, the USA is about 22% Catholic; Muslim numbers are notoriously difficult to pin down in the USA so I'll let you do your own research on that. Worldwide, Catholics and Muslims have about 1 billion adherents each.

It's always a good practice to quote Church teaching directly when dealing with another religion.  Here is what the Second Vatican Council taught in Nostra Aetate 3: The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

Notice how many things we have in common with Muslims!  Our histories have taught us that we must work together diligently to achieve peace and freedom for all people.
God is great indeed.