Chapter 18: Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others

Hakim is a Muslim.  He lives in Cleveland with his mother, father, three sisters and lives close to more relatives than he can count.

His home life is happy and very lively and his mother cooks home made food every day, spicy food.  The most important rule in Hakim’s house is “respect.”  You always respect your elders and listen to them.

Everyone in his family prays and they do it at very special times every day.  He kneels all the way down and puts his forehead on the mat and tries to fill his mind with thoughts of God.

Sometimes he can, sometimes he can’t, but he tries.

A friend of his, Rachel, is a Christian and she goes to church on Sundays.  He doesn’t really know anything about her religion but he likes and trusts her as a person and he is curious about her life.

Yesterday, she asked him if he would like to join her on Sunday to see what her religion is like.  He said he really wanted to and he ran home from school to tell his mother about the fun new thing he was going to get to do.

But she wasn’t happy the way he thought she would be.  She told him “no” and also told him not to tell his father and – this was the hardest thing for him – that he shouldn’t see Rachel any more.  She was a “bad influence” and it would be better if he didn’t have her as a friend.  He protested and she told him he was not showing proper respect.

This didn’t make sense to him.  Rachel had always been honest and had helped him many times.  He felt better being around her, stronger.  She made him feel the way his family made him feel.

He knew he was going to have to make a choice.

What should he do?

  • Tell Rachel he can’t see her anymore
  • Go to church with Rachel and don’t tell his mother
  • Tell Rachel that he can’t go to the church but keep her as a friend and lie about it.
  • Sit down with his mother and father and tell him why he thinks he should be allowed.

What would you do?

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