This evening we were fortunate enough to be able to host a dinner and conversation with a group of individuals from the Karimia Institute, the mosque that we visited back in December. For the event, Mary had asked me to make my Lentil Bean Delight recipe that has been such a hit in the flat. She recruited Michelle to cook the rice, since we may have had a few fails making rice this year… Haha. I bet I would have been amusing to watch in the kitchen this evening as I ran around stirring, sauteing and preparing on 4 different burners. I kept thinking to myself, “Thank goodness when I have my own family I won’t even have to cook a fourth of the amount I’m working on here.” It was stressful, but I think it was good for me. Presenting me with a bit of more strenuous kitchen experience. Haha In the end everything turned out great and really made for a good meal. Following the meal we watched as they did their evening prayer in the church hall. I know I wrote about this in my earlier post about us visiting them, but I really enjoy listening to the prayers. They are some of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Following this we all took a seat and began a discussion. Professor Johns started off with a question having to do with the current situation in Afghanistan having to do with the burning of Qur’ans and the protests resulting from it. It turned out to be a very interesting conversation. In the group that came there were quite a few incredibly informed and intellectual individuals. They brought up so many interesting points. I feel as if I learned so much from the conversation, not only about Islam, but also about simply being a religious individual in today’s world. The conversations really showed that we are not that different. We are all religious, caring individuals who just want peace and respect. Leaving the conversation I just had this urge to do something. Something about it was just pulling on me. I think this is primarily a result of the way we touched on the power of media during the conversation. We talked about how part of the issue is how media often only present one side of the problem or only gives part of the story. Professor Johns’ class has awakened something in me this past semester. I went from being someone who really had no interest in the news to someone who loves spending my free time reading up on current events from links on my twitter where I follow BBC, Al Jazeera and etc. I’ve even begun to have more of a passion for talking about the issues. This is a big change in me. One that I think is a very positive one. As I was getting to, after the talk I just wanted to do something. After examining the injustices, the way that people judge after being fed the incorrect or partial information by the media, I had the urge to devote my life to a change. Conversations like the ones we have had this year with the group from the Karimia Institute are really a powerful thing. These kinds of conversations need to be generated in other places, because when people are able to talk they really get a chance to see how they may be different in their beliefs, ethnicity or culture, but we are all human. I like to believe that all people have good in them and that all people would want peace. These kinds of conversations could be the kind of thing to help create peace and lead us to a better tomorrow.