Address at Westfield State University Interfaith Breakfast

Mirza Yawar Baig


Channel: Mirza Yawar Baig

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President Linda Thompson, Lisa McMahon,

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Dr. Julian Mills,

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for the Warren savage.

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All my friends here.

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Thank you very much for the introduction.

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All that I was saying was that I'm old.

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And I talk a lot.

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So let me put your mind at rest. About how long I'm going to talk by saying to you what Henry the Eighth said to his wives, I will not keep you here long.

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I'm a bridge builder.

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And that's how I see interfaith relations. It's the work of building bridges.

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It's not about taking a person from one side of the river or the canyon to the other side.

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It is to build a bridge, so that people on both sides of the river can meet

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we're gonna meet on the bridge

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how to build a bridge

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by making four critical changes within yourself within ourselves,

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change attitude, change perspective, change language, and change behavior.

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Attitude is how we define ourselves.

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And that depends on what we believe about ourselves.

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This is partly what we are being told growing up, which is conditioning and partly what we choose to tell ourselves all through life.

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So ask how do I define myself?

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values drive behavior, behavior drives results.

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So ask, what are my values, my beliefs, my attitudes and my stances?

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Who I am determines what I do with decides what I get. We have been conditioned to be focused on get

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get rich, get popular, get elected, get an education, get married, get get get.

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But we can only get in relation to what we do. And that depends on who we are.

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If we want to change what we have, we must change who we are. It is that simple.

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Number two, change perspective.

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Perspective defines what we see that determines our worldview, which defines our responses to those who share the world with us.

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Unless there hasn't done a God Almighty said to us in the Quran. Yeah, you haven't. So in Kona

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We're gonna come show Oh acaba de la Lita Ara, who, in Kurama coumarin. The law at Kagome. In law, Holleyman hobby, which means all mankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another so that you may recognize one another.

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Very Lee, the most honorable of you.

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With Allah is the One who is the most pious. Verily Allah is all knowing, all aware.

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We will create a different so that we recognize one another.

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We saw an example of recognition here, people were asked to stand up to be recognized, since when did that become discrimination?

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Islam tells us that we all have the same origin, but are different. And that difference is a cause for celebration for honoring one another for recognizing one another. And to appreciate the different flavor we bring we bring to the table. The difference is not a cause for discrimination or racism. superiority in the sight of God is based on piety and that is the purity of our hearts, which brings us close to God because only he knows what is in our hearts. Change your perspective and you will see a different world. One that was always there, but you perhaps couldn't see it because of where he was.

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Standing. So move. So ask yourself, see,

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it's not very mysterious. So ask yourself how do I define myself? We are all raised bipolar. I don't mean the psychological issue I mean bipolar.

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We are raised by poor everyone like me is good. Everyone who's unlike me is bad. We learn derogatory names for them derogatory language, we learn to fear them and hate them and to see ourselves as superior, and the other as inferior.

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This othering is a default setting in all cultures, believe me.

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Only the identity of the other differs. But there's always another.

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To change this perspective, we must move from right and wrong to different because not everything is right or wrong. Many things are just different.

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All prejudice is based on subjective perceptions of right and wrong. All stereotyping is based on prejudice. To cure ourselves of the cancer of prejudice, we must change our perspective. Number three, change language. Ask, how do I speak about others when they are not present?

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Respectfully, inclusively, appreciatively, or otherwise, change language, because language, shapes attitudes and reflects them.

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I asked you to substitute one word in your vocabulary with another substitute, tolerate with appreciate

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how many of you thought that being tolerant was a good thing? Sure.

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It's a very bad thing. It's a horrible thing. Please do not be tolerant.

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Tolerance implies dislike. Appreciation comes from respectful interest. I submit to you that all healthy relationships depend on a precision, think tolerance or tolerating, and you will not be thinking of someone you love.

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Or double shot of espresso, or a triple chocolate sundae.

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Or a glorious sunset or your pet. You will not be thinking of anything that brings a smile to your face, or a warm glow in your heart. You will be thinking, oh my god, him again.

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Let's get this over with let's tolerate him.

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But when you think appreciation, you are thinking love and gratitude. You're thinking missing someone. You're thinking

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about the party

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thinking beautiful pictures, and sounds and voices and dreams.

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So I said you forget tolerating people ask, How can I appreciate them?

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You can only know that you can only appreciate them if you know them.

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So go out there and make friends.

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Go out there and make friends.

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Through it is that only knowledge can set us free. We must learn about others. By doing that. We really learn about ourselves. So let's ask ourselves

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how much effort do I make to initiate and maintain relationships? How many friends do I have? Who are different from me? Different color, different race, different religion?

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Because it's not the color of your hair, but the color of your dreams

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that determine success and happiness in life.

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From tolerance to hatred is one step.

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But appreciation is the opposite of hatred.

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So let's replace tolerance in our hearts and minds with appreciation to have you with me.

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Last one, change behavior.

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Behavior drives results. Collaboration is the door communication is the key. So ask how do I speak to myself about those who are different from me?

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What is my language reflect? Remember that not everything is spoken aloud. The most powerful messages are heard only by you. Because it is what you are saying to yourself.

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It is critical to reflect on this because our internal talk guides our attitude and actions you

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As we think, so we speak, so we act. So we get responses.

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Only we can change the cycle and make it a journey of discovery and friendship.

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For many of us, this is an unconscious process. People are shocked when they reflect and realize what they are saying to themselves. And even more when they realize that this this sets in motion, a spiral that is negative or positive, the power lies in accepting that we decide what we want it to be.

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The solution to this is knowledge. So ask, whatever do I make, to learn about others? Remember, that learning about human beings is only done by experience, not on Zoom, not on television, or social media. But by meeting talking, breathing, one body called I'm going to put a blank there. Right in the name of that breathing, talking, one body we should meet.

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Do that respectfully, sensitively in a spirit of inquiry,

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not judgmentally.

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And for that, learn something about their culture and their taboos and preferences and beliefs. Again, non judgmentally judging builds, walls, walls, keep people apart. Bridges draw us closer. We must become bridge builders. If we want to leave behind a world defined by love, the willingness to transcend boundaries, share uniqueness, without criticism and discrimination must be taught young, but can be learned at any stage in life. There's only one requirement

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are you willing to learn?

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In conclusion, I want to remind you of the words of a man who had a dream for all of us.

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Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?

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expediency, ask the question, is it politic? Vanity as the question Is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right?

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And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular. But one must take it because it is right.

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Sure, you know the name of the man,

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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My friend and my I remind myself and you that a window opens in the life of every one of us, when we can make a difference. Our window is open now

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are trying to create a legacy of honor is now

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when things look terrible and totally out of control and despair looms over the horizon, I say to myself,

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I will not allow what is not in my control, to prevent me from doing what is in my control. I repeat that I will not allow what is not in my control, to prevent me from doing what is in my control. And that is my gift to you. Thank you very much.