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Thursday, 23 February 2006



The people trying to save Iraq as a nation will say, if they haven't already said, that the attack on the Mosque was the fault of the US and Israel. They probably won't believe it, but they will say it to avoid saying aloud that this was an attack on the Shi'ia by Sunnis.

I don't believe that shrines can be holy, but I accept that others do, because I went on several pilgrimages when I lived in Europe. I had a friend who was a believer and she felt blest to be able to participate.

The people of the US have to do this simply to prove that we aren't our government and that we don't have to share their belief to understand its importance to them.


Holiness is as much a tradition as anything else. There is relatively little that one person can add to (or detract from) a place in a one-time dealie, unless the person in question is quite a spiritual presence (think Gandhi, or Pope John XXIII of blessed memory). I remember feeling just as much of a sense of the holy when I entered the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem in 1998, even though the place was not a holy one in my faith tradition, as I did in, say, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. What gave it that feeling, I think, is much the same as what gave that feeling to the Basilica--generation after generation, century after century, of prayerful people passing through there and attempting to touch the Divine, if only for a moment.

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