As I was walking home from campus the other night, the beautiful sound of the Islamic call to prayer, the Azan, filled the entire UC Berkeley plaza. Surprise gave way to happiness as I the entire campus scene before me changed with the rhythm of the prayer. Couples holding hands, undergraduates passing out flyers, the movement of the leaves of the trees all seemed to be in harmony with the music. As a practicing Muslim, there have been many times in my life where the true depth of Islam and its protective embrace have really touched my soul. That night was perhaps the most mystical and beautiful of them all.
As I continued on my home and as the prayer gradually faded away, I slowly began to become aware of the fact that there are very few, if any, places on this earth where religions, races, and beliefs of all kinds are not only tolerated, but embraced whole-heartedly. While the call to prayer may certainly have not been welcomed by many individuals on the UC Berkeley campus, it did increase awareness and knowledge of the faith. The recent election of a black man as the President of the United States, while too certainly not embraced by all, has defied stereotypes, opened new spaces for dialogue, and renewed hope for those marginalized individuals who believed that they could never make it. Yes, it is a time of hope here, a time of prayer for better things to come. What are your thoughts?