In the past few days we have seen some horrific acts done in the name of religion. In Pakistan, we had an extreme part of the Islamic faith kill nearly 150 people, mostly school children, in the name of religion. In Sydney Australia, we had a lone follower of this extreme set of beliefs take many people hostage and cause the deaths of 3.
These events are thankfully rare, but they are still common enough. It is a major shame that people are doing these horrific acts in the name of religion, any religion. Religion in general teaches us values to live by. None that I am familiar with have the majority of the followers and the majority of the clergy preach or believe that violence is acceptable. It is only the minority that ruin it for the rest of us, and have been doing so throughout history.
Back to my point though, all religions tend to teach a values system, and overall, these are really not greatly different. They tend to teach peace and love. They generally can be summed up in the so called golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". This is what the vast majority of the people follow, if they follow anything at all. This is one of the points of religion, to give you a framework to be a good person and a good citizen of the world.
The few that are violent in the name of religion, they are not truly being religious. They are perverting their religion for power, or perverting it because they have racial issues, or perverting it because for some reason they just don't like that person or group of people. If we react to these few people and treat all members of a religion by shunning them, verbally or physically attacking them, going to war, or what have you, the violent minority wins. The violent minority gets justification to continue with their actions and recruit more to their cause. This is the exact thing that should not be done, it only will perpetuate the violence.
The people of Australia have had the best reaction to the hostage situation in Sydney. One person on public transportation saw a Muslim woman remove her hijab and told her not to do so, that they would walk with her in solidarity. This is the start of the #illridewithyou hash-tag on Twitter. At the last check, this is approaching 250 thousand uses. Standing up and with those that are having their religion perverted, saying that they and their religion are not at fault, and not just saying it but showing it through their actions. That is the way to fight this. Violence only begets more violence, but love and understanding begets love and understanding and can diminish the violence.
I call on all those that see this to be respectful of those of other religions. Take the time to learn about other religions and what their actual teachings are. Take the time to get to know those of a different religion from yourself and get to know them as people. When you see events like we have seen recently, remember that hash-tag and stand up and with all people and don't perpetuate the violence.