The reason religions are worth supporting is that they all somehow have at their core the moral principle of universality, articulated variously as: do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Christianity); you do good, you get good; you do bad, you get bad (Buddhism); and in Islam: "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself" _ The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith.
Thus we see that in any enlightened thinking, we behave toward others as we wish them to behave toward us. People need guidance and religions really help. Some of the best-behaved people in the world are religious people.
Certainly all of us are guilty at one time or another of deviating from the golden rule. In our lives there are others who seem to have so much more than we do, who suffer so much less than we do. Things seem terribly unfair so often.
But unlike us mere flesh-and-blood human beings, who die of old age and other causes, principles stand the test of time and were as equally, impeccably true thousands of years ago as they will be thousands of years in the future.
People are born into their families and naturally adopt the religion and culture of their own parents. We should never punish anybody for something they cannot help.
The worst thing you could possibly do would be to humiliate someone from a different religion because of his religion. No matter how different someone is from you, his family gave him his entire universe of sustenance and security.
You should treat this person as if he were your own family and protect him as zealously as your own parents would protect you. This is the core of universality, and is what all religions and moral codes worth looking at teach.
Guess why they teach universality. Because it works and it stands the test of time.
When you walk among people who are totally different from you in skin colour, in behaviour, in traditions and you are kind and friendly and treat them well, your experience among them is almost guaranteed to be gentle and satisfying.
Islam is a glorious, beautiful religion, and the Koran is one of the most remarkable books ever written.
The experience of the Hajj, people visiting Mecca every year in the tens of thousands and going through Islamic rituals, is one of the most fascinating events and outpourings of goodwill to take place anywhere on earth.
We can all appreciate the beauty and love involved in the Hajj, which takes place today.
Thus we take our places among the true brotherhood of all humanity by celebrating the rich traditions of Islam and by making every person in the world who follows the Islamic faith our brothers and sisters. Thus we are elevated to the very highest level of secularism. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
In this manner, here at The Phnom Penh Post, our own Cham Muslim advertising sales executive Tin Rosaly, one of the most diligent and successful people in our marketing department, contacted all the people shown in this report with the kind assistance of Set Muhammadsis, co-director of the Cambodian Islamic Voice Broadcasting Radio Program, and made this report happen. Without their hard work, you would not be reading this report.
The fine young Cham Muslims are real Cambod-ians: important, hard-working, decent fellows who practise moderate Islam with kindness and grace.
These wonderful followers of the Islamic faith are kind, generous, thoughtful and well-behaved. They are an important and resilient part of Cambodian society.
Let me use this opportunity to encourage all employers to hire Cham Muslims, for visitors to befriend them, for people of all religions to embrace these wonderful people as brothers and sisters on this special occas-ion today of that most holy day in the Islamic calendar, the Hajj, 2011.