Commentary since September 11 has produced a cognitive dissonance among Americans about Islam, the world’s second largest religious tradition. On the one hand, selected Muslim leaders declare that “Islam is a religion of peace” and President Bush asserts repeatedly that the U.S.
Garry Trudeau’s long-running Doonesbury comic strip rarely spares the rod—or sharp pen—when satirizing presidents, cigarette companies and hardened conservatives. But he showed a soft spot with stronger-than-usual religious touches in his first newspaper strips dealing with the September 11 atrocities and their aftermath.
This is,” Chi Nguyen said, raising one hand and then the other, “because that is.” The retired surgeon, a native of Vietnam who lives in Boston, was explaining how Buddhism helped him and other members of a local Buddhist temple forgive those who viciously attacked the temple last year.
In late June, weary of another long year behind a desk, I headed toward Ring Lake Ranch, an ecumenical retreat and study center in northwest Wyoming. A week in the high desert country of the Wind River Range, with time for silence and solitude, sounded just about right.