Respect differences
U.S. Rep Blasts Muslim Official Nov. 10

As a Christian minister, I have been deeply involved for more than five years with the Islamic community in the Tampa Bay area. Recently I have also gotten to know Ahmed Bedier, who is leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Tampa chapter.

Among the many events I attended, I heard him eloquently respond to the priest at a Catholic Church education seminar recently on the Muslim religion at Espiritu Santo Church in Safety Harbor. I have never known Bedier to be anything but sincere, hard-working, well-educated and inimitably talented as a spokesperson for Muslims.

It seems to me not all that long ago it was also a popular social stance to keep African-Americans down. . .that is, until we got to know them and understand our interrelatedness. It is so spiritually immature to espouse such bigotry, such ignorance, such hatred as do the Brown-Waites and Hogans of this world.

My prayer is that we all start to grow up and understand that we are now one world family and we need to respect each other’s differences. Perhaps a private meeting among Ahmed Bedier, Tom and Mary Ann Hogan and Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite would produce this effect.

The Rev. Dr. Vinita Anne Watkins, Clearwater


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