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Friday, February 18, 2005

Pulpits should open closed minds

Saturday, 5, February, 2005 (25, Dhul Hijjah, 1425)
Of Closed Minds
Saleh Al-Shehy, Al-Watan


A colleague narrated an incident witnessed by his wife, who is a doctor employed in a hospital. He said, “A citizen came to her clinic accompanied by his sick teenage daughter. My wife wanted to ask the girl about her health problem, but was surprised that whenever she asked her a question her father replied on her behalf, as if it was the father who was ill, not the daughter.”

By her father’s strange action, the sick girl was turned into a guest of honor.

He said, and this is what is strange, “Before the departure of the father and his daughter my wife wanted to encourage the girl and raise her morale, as she was ill. She told her, ‘You should take good care of yourself and study well so that some day you will become a doctor like me’.”

My colleague said that his wife was surprised that it was again the father who replied on behalf of his daughter. But his reply was stranger still. He burst into a rage, “What are you saying? This profession is not for us. It’s a shame to allow our daughters to work as doctors. Do you want my daughter to work in this dirty profession?”

I have a conviction that this man and those of his kind cannot change their calcified thinking even if we open a center for dialogue or a satellite channel in his courtyard.

Such persons can only be changed by the pulpits. The pulpits have an important, effective and required awareness role.

Friday sermons have a stronger effect on the minds of such persons than a high-budget television program. Five grand mosques have a stronger effect than a satellite channel on a society like ours.

I am sure that a professor cannot change the convictions of such a man, but the Khateeb of a grand mosque can change them and shape them the way he likes.

The question is: Where is the important, effective and required role of the pulpits in opening these closed minds?

I hope you will not ask me to comment further. If you do I will overturn the equation and ask you to comment.

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