The first is a poem by George El-Hage of Columbia University, written July 29, 2006. It is on the Tabsir site and the title is “A Letter to the Children of Qana”. It is quite a long poem. Here is a short sample.
We sprinkled you with flowers
And wiped your faces with the covers of the holy books.
Alas, the Torah did not inspire us
Nor did the Gospel save us or the Qur’an console us.
All of us,
Both sides of the border,
We are all Cain
We are all Yazid
We are all Judas.
We are all vampires and murderers
And we are all responsible for your sacred blood and your innocent souls.
The second on Killing the Buddha is Searching for Sufis by Jill Hamburg Coplan.
…I was raised with two religions, neither one Islamic: Judaism and Zionism. In fact, I’m a not-so-distant relative of Israel’s founder, David Ben-Gurion. Probably it was rebelliousness, but I’d always felt a gravitational pull towards the Arab and Muslim side of things. Late in 1992, with Communism’s fall, I suspected that, as two minorities (“nationalities” was the preferred Soviet term), the Jews and the Muslims were heading for interesting times. Central Asia was also appealing as the birthplace of Sufism — mystical, ecstatic, meditative Islam. I’d read that Sufi mathematics, medicine, and poetry, developed in the medieval courts of Avignon and Andalusia, had spread from there to permeate Europe’s Enlightenment. Sufi masters were jesters and folk heroes. Carl Jung equated their mental-healing techniques with psychotherapy.
And how about this: Through the centuries, wherever Sufism held sway — like Ottoman Turkey — Jews could find safe haven. If I could find a Sufi, I thought, I could approach him with genuine respect, bringing my own real curiosity about mysticism, and produce for American newspaper readers a kind of encounter that might help them understand Islam in a different way than a demonizing story about a radical hostage-taker or half-crazed suicide attacker ever could. And if not, well, Judaism reserves its mystical texts and practices for old male scholars who’ve mastered everything else. Perhaps the more tolerant Sufis would open a door for me…