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Ham is OK


May 9, 2007

They go up and they go down
In Arabic, they say: God is great
And they call themselves: good Moslems

But they seem consumed
With materialism and prejudice
With meanness and back-biting

Their attention is fixed on the lives of others
Particularly the lower classes and the sinners
Those they see as beneath them

Nevertheless they see themselves as upright Moslems
And they say no to ham and no to bacon

They wash in the holy way
Their hands and feet
Their mouth and face
But their thoughts are rarely clean
They have no respect
For their fellow human beings

They go up and they go down
In Arabic, they say: there is only one God
And they say no to beer and no to wine

So much work for the other world
But never learned to live life here
They reduce religion
To a set of rigid rules
A list of commands
But make no attempt
To make themselves better
No attempt to make the world
A better place

They do not need to
As they build their spiritual homes
On rigid structures and dietary laws

But can there be spirituality
Without kindness and care for others?

Can we really be religious and spiritual
Without opening our hearts and minds to strangers
Without cultivating sympathy and gentleness
Without a commitment to love and respect others
Without being honest, sincere, and fair-minded
Without good-will and peace in our hearts?

-Rotterdam, Netherlands

This poem was first published in Payam-e-Ashena, a Southern California Iranian-American community journal.

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To Sasan Seifikar

Sasan Seifikar



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