There are five pillars of Islam (see references with my book, “The Heroine Next Door”:
1. You should bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
2. You should keep up Salah (prayer conducted five times per day)
3. You should give Zakat (donations to the poor)
4. You should Saum (fast) during the month of Ramadan (ninth month
of the lunar, Islamic calendar)
5. You should make hajj (pilgrimage) if you are able to do so
In terms of a moral code, it seems less complicated than the Ten Commandments, but continues to be a source of conflict and condemnation around the globe. One is not the enemy of the other. We are all human and as such find it difficult to adhere to five or ten rules.
Whether one rejects the pillars, the notion of God, or the very idea of spirituality are no longer options for communities living in the middle of conflict zones. It is also very easy to get ensnared in tribal dogma, the modifications from different schools of thought within the religion, shooting the original messenger, or debating about who is most appropriate in terms of expanding or reinterpreting that message to a wider audience.
That luxury is usually reserved for well-fed and clothed experts and casual observers. Refugees crossing different boundaries in search of safety and food and water might be forgiven for thinking that academic discussions about the future of a faith is a case of “too little, too late.”
For those intent on making strategic compassion the focus of any specific intervention, perhaps condescension in any rhetoric could be modified with a Starbucks-CEO approach. No, I am not suggesting that tone-deaf, overworked barristas barrage the latté-swilling masses with the latest horrible headline or discuss the political correctness of using “Islam” and “extremism” in the same sentence.
However, Starbucks has the platform to create an “events”-type scenario, where gold – or platinum- or interested-members could be invited to special evenings with, let’s say discounted cake pops or other desserts, and their favorite activist for special meetings.
Topics could range from the latest horror story in the news to getting ordinary people to adopt “Yoga Girl’s” impossible poses on Instagram.
Just a thought.