Islam is basically a religion of peace that lays great emphasis upon mutual understanding, love, and unity.
In Greater Toledo, Ohio, a local mosque decided to mark thanksgiving this year by decorating its lawn with signs carrying message of praise to Allah and each other.
The signs, decorated by messages from members of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo and their families, were intended to highlight the elements of holidays and overcome divisions.
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They were also an attempt to recognize historical divisions and work towards rectifying historic wrongs.
“Last Friday, I gave a sermon called ‘Beyond Mythical History: Finding hope through fact not fiction.’ And a part of the discussion was about recognizing that this is not a celebration for a lot of people, especially our indigenous peoples,” Imam Ahmad Deeb said, Toledo Blade reported.
“Many of them don’t consider this to be a day of celebration but a day of mourning,” the imam said.
Thanksgiving is a celebration on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States .
Legend of Thanksgiving
The general revisionist legend of Thanksgiving is that in their early struggles in America, pilgrims received aid from Native Americans to survive the harsh and foreign winter.
According to Native Circle, the first Thanksgiving-like celebration marked the end of the Pequot War, which occurred with a massacre of about 500 Pequot men, women and children.
Sharing messages of unity, the imam said he wanted to encourage his community to come to terms with a difficult national history while maintaining hope and positivity.
This includes acknowledging harm done, rectifying historic wrongs, and seeking to find a common, constructive place to talk about the nuances of ongoing systemic struggles.
“Despite where we may be on the political spectrum, despite the sides that we have, despite the parties that we belong to, there are universal truths that we all recognize and if we’re able to focus on those, even something as divisive as a political sign can be something that unites,” Imam Deeb said.
“So the idea was let’s fill our entire, beautiful hill with signs of gratitude. And the word for that in Arabic is alhamdulillah, which both means all praise and all thanks belong to God,” he said.
The imam also noted that this project does not ignore history or promote a simple and fake idea of unity.
“We don’t get to unification by lying about history, creating mythical stories, but we also don’t get to unification if we come from a place of moral superiority,” he said.
“Gratitude is a universal symbol of our shared humanity, and there are others. Let’s come from that place and then begin to have these difficult conversations.”