City of Good Neighbors is living up to its name
A friend of mine prevailed upon me to talk to some of the students at Olmsted At Kensington about careers in science, namely geology. There were three groups of about 40 sophomores (groan) for me to make my pitch to. I am old and white and the kids are young and most have more melanin than I. To get their attention, I riffed on Robin Williams in “Good Morning, Vietnam” with “Gooood Morning, Olmsted!” The kids responded well.
Seeing several obviously Muslim students, I then said, “assalamu alaikum,” and to my delight, over half the class responded, “alaikum assalam.” This happened in each of the three groups. For those not in the know, this is a typical Muslim greeting meaning “peace be with you” in Arabic, with the implication that it is God’s peace. From this small incident, I suspect Islamophobia has not taken root at Olmsted. And that’s a good thing.
I am a serious Christian but still have a great respect for the major religions of the world. We must do our best to eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation and lean into the “light.”
Paul R. Nevergold