Every day on the news we can hear terrible things that people are doing to each other in the name of religion. But this is not real religion, not real spirituality. This is fanaticism and fundamentalism wearing a mask of religion. Fanaticism does not belong to one religion. I heard today about Christians in northern Iraq trying to protect their books, putting them in trucks so that they could escape with them, and not be burned by the Islamic State fanatics. Of course, we all know that early Christians burned whole libraries of classical Greek and Roman books, that they called ‘pagan.’ And it was the early Islamic empires that saved many of the classical books, which the Christian West didn’t discover until the Renaissance. Fanaticism does not belong to one religion.
Hazrat Inayat Khan taught about the importance of understanding and tolerance. Universal Sufism is not a religion, to compete with other religions. It is not Islam. Nor is it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, not any of the multitude of religious and spiritual teachings that have been given by prophets, saints, and sages, for centuries. Its intention is to kindle the divine light which is the origin and essence of every religion. The Message is always given in the clothing of its culture and time. And Inayat Khan said that in our time we need to learn to understand, tolerate, accept people and beliefs which are different from our own. For the spiritual seeker who wants to go deeper he says, “To treat every human being as a shrine of God is to fulfill all religion.” He called this the human Brotherhood (and in our time, of course, we say Brotherhood and Sisterhood, understanding that this is what he meant). Since we have technologies now that rapidly give us information about events happening far away, and that allow us to go to places that were only imagined in other eras, we must become more understanding and tolerant. The interconnectedness of existence requires our attention. With open minds and hearts, we must try to understand. Can we save everyone’s books?