Today, I remember beautiful Hunza--a striking contrast to all the disgusting bigotry and hatred spewing forth from our would-be "leaders".
While Hunza is extraordinarily special, I experienced nothing but warmth and kindness throughout my entire three and one half weeks in Pakistan, some years ago. Islamic people value hospitality above all else. I felt genuinely welcomed by the people of Pakistan, wherever I went.
Village people in the mountains invited me and my fellow travelers into their homes and presented us with gifts, with food and drink--even though they were very poor. To decline would have been an insult.
Often, both in the mountains, and in Lahore, people stopped to connect with me. Sometimes, because they too had blue eyes and blond hair (a genetic inheritance from the armies of Alexander)--and sometimes, because they had never before seen a blue-eyed blond. Always, an experience of shared humanity.
The Ismaeli Muslims in NW Pakistan, now Gilgit-Balstistan, including Hunza, are moderate and tolerant, just as the article describes.
The Sufi's in Lahore welcomed me into their shrine, Data Durbar. The Sufi holy men kindly allowed me to photograph them. The Sufi's are the antitheses of the jihadists and Wahhabi fundamentalists. The Sufi's spiritual practice is to open to the presence of love deep within the heart, as a path to connection with the Divine. Sufi's welcome all faiths into their shrines. Sadly, Data Durbar was blown up by jihadi extremists a few years ago, with very high casualties.
Link (just below) is to an article from the Smithsonian about the Sufi's and the Taliban in Pakistan. There are many approaches to Islam, and they are in conflict with each other over values--Light, Love, and tolerance vs. dogma, fear, power, and control.http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/pakistans-sufis-preach-faith-and-ecstasy-92998056/?all
Syrian refugees are the fleeing terror sown by the jihadi's. They are afraid of the same things we are. The worst thing we can do is turn our backs in fear and hatred, and send them away. That only leads to isolation and resentment, and for some, fundamentalism then offers a path to personal identity and a sense of belonging, as well as, to revenge. See link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/17/isis-wants-you-to-hate-muslims/
These are my thoughts, after I watched, in revulsion, a news clip of the leading Republican candidate, with his plans to register all Muslims.
I travelled through an Islamic country and had wonderful experiences wherever I went.Out beyond ideas of wrongdoingand rightdoing there is a field.I'll meet you there.When the soul lies down in that grassthe world is too full to talk about.”Rumi
Music Video: Nusrat Fahti Ali Kahn, Sufi Qawwali (Sufi devotional music) singer, and a legend in World Music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mxJKb4Kquk
Our guides played this album throughout our travels in Pakistan.#Peace #Lovingkindness #Compassion #Refugees #Hunza #GilgitBalstitan #Sufis https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/high-up-on-a-pakistani-mountain-a-success-story-for-moderate-islam/2015/07/22/f0b878d2-2572-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html