Muslim Couple at the Tobacco Warehouse

Muslim Couple at  the Tobacco Warehouse

During a photowalk in DUMBO, I spotted this Muslim couple walking by the Tobacco Warehouse. Although I would have preferred to have shot a candid, I didn't get an opportunity, so, I (rudely) pointed my 150mm at the couple and took the shot. A smile goes a long way.

Romanian scholar, historian of religion, and phenomenologist, Mircea Eliade, repeatedly observed that each individual forms their own eclectic belief system based on his or her own personal experiences. In other words, effectively, there are as many religious beliefs as there are people on earth. The labels we use, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim only denote an identity - how we identify ourselves and how others identify us. That is why there are so many denominations in all religions; each representing a different ethnic or cultural identity. For example, in Israel, 15% of the population identify themselves as atheists and 37% as agnostics, yet most regard themselves as culturally Jewish.

When there are as many beliefs as there are people on earth, why do we feel the need to label people? Does a religious label give us any useful information about a person? What does it tell us? Unfortunately, religious labels are most often used by religious exclusivists to establish a sense of us versus them. Labels are a convenient way to use fear to unite us in discrimination. They have always been used that way. Once we do label someone, and associate that person with something - good or bad - we rarely go back to see past the label. They become forever defined and associated in our minds - we conveniently eliminate all nuance. And this ignorance, is the source of the evil that men do.

Song of the Day: The Evil That Men Do - Iron Maiden (1988)
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