Living with difference

The question of how we treat, deal with, work with, co-exist with people of other faiths and beliefs (including those that have no faith), is a rather curious one. The answer seems intuitive – there is a thread that binds us together – being human seems enough to unite us. Every interaction should be underpinned by this sense of shared humanity; we breathe the same air and have the same basic requirements so why do we treat people differently?

Countless times in the Quran we are exhorted to treat others with fairness and justice, and no mention is made of treating those of other faiths or belief any differently. The Quran says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other.” (49:13).

Living in a plural society, we interact with and meet people of a whole rainbow of different backgrounds and tend to put people into neat little boxes. Black, white, others, us, them, me, you – but we all have hearts that beat, and lungs that breathe that makes us human, this essential truth that binds our hearts to one another, helps us to see people on the basis of love, mutual respect and humanity.