I empathize with the Muslims who died in New Zealand both as Muslim who used to live as a religious minority in a Christian country and as Muslim in a Muslim majority country where extremists threaten other religious minorities.
So what do we do? As educators, as citizens, as parents, I believe strongly in promoting empathy, resisting “othering” and promoting a contextual, historical and intersectional understanding of social justice, and this can be an approach to digital citizenship, as I wrote a few years ago. And we need to “know the other” and keep expanding and deepening those ties and bridges.
This is part two of my Beyond Belief project, where every month during 2019 I plan to experience a different religion that I know nothing about. This month its Sikhism.
I spent nearly five week in Bali over the December/January period, so Balinese Hinduism seems like an obvious place to start. As part of Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, Bali is a religious outlier with nearly 85% of the island’s population identifying as Hindu. Its version of Hinduism is a little different to that traditionally found in India, which is polytheistic (believing in many gods), and it has quite a different feel to the other Muslim parts of Indonesia. Balinese Hinduism claims to be monotheistic, with only one god, although it seems to me that in practice this is not always the case, based on so many different statues I saw everywhere. There were statues of Vishnu and Ganesha and many, many others that I didn’t recognise, so I’m not totally sure how the monotheistic thing applies.