The Fierce Urgency of Now : Why We, Too, Are Shaima Alwadi

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It doesn’t take much to look around and see that there is a need for understanding and love, instead of fear and hate.

Still reeling from the death of Trayvon Martin, the resulting protests and revelations, and stories that abound about people who die every day in this world unjustly, I was shocked to hear of the home invasion of a 32 year old Iraqi mother of five in California last week.

Shaima Alawadi was beaten within an inch of her life. She was left unconscious — left to die in her living room. Apparently, her 17 year old daughter, Fatima Al Himidi found her with a note near her body saying “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” And then, finally, she did die.

My heart weeps for that family.

This is a woman who has apparently lived in the United States for the past 20 years. And even if she had arrived more recently — isn’t this a nation of immigrants? In what universe of madness is it okay that she was bludgeoned to death in her own home?

So now we are left to ask ourselves — how can we make sure that her death was not in vain?

The answer is: We must do better.

Here are a few tips from My 52 Weeks of Worship that might help you take one step in the direction of interfaith dialogue, discussion and understanding.

  • Everyone should, at some point in life, go to a place where they totally stick out, and they have no idea what the rules are. Why not have a wild, humbling and unforgettable experience?
  • It is quite ok to believe one thing, and stand shoulder to shoulder with people who believe something else
  • If you have questions, there are kind people everywhere who will answer them for you
  • Approaching any unfamiliar situation with an open heart and good intentions is a good first step


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