My Muslim Friends

I like Muslims as much as I like people of all religions. Why do I like Muslims? It is true that there is something good in every man, whether he lives in a Christian or in a Muslim community. I have lots of friends who are Muslims. Abdul Yasser Halik is one; he is my neighbor; not just my neighbor, as in we live in the same neighborhood area, but his house is next to mine! Yasser, or Yas, as he likes to be called, is very generous. Lanzones. Dried fish. Marang fruits. And I often pay back that generosity.

Yas’ son is named Yan (a combination of Yasser’s name and Annabelle’s, his wife). Yan and my grandson Jacob too are good friends. They play together, watch DVDs together, invite each other to each other’s birthday parties.

Yasser and I exchange ideas on how to repair our motorcycles. He has a big bike; mine is small. About how to improve our house; his is better looking now, mine still remains simple. We talk about his trips to Malaysia, to Nigeria, to Burkina Faso. I enjoy listening to Yas.

Yas is a good Muslim; and I am trying to show him that there is something that his fellow Muslims may have missed out about Christianity. Humility. Being forgiving to a fault. Being apologetic. One time his Muslim friend drove a car and ran over my plastic dust pan. Yas apologized; I said it’s my fault because I put the dust pan in the middle of the street. But Yas went ahead and bought me a new dust pan.

Yas is comfortable with me, and that feeling is mutual. If I should go to Jolo, Yas could accompany me.

Yas is a loving husband to Annabelle. Their relationship, though cross-cultural, is one of the best examples I could cite.

Yas’s brother is also my friend. Same with Yas’s lady cousin, who used to live in their house.

Yas is an open-minded person. He does not attack my beliefs, neither do I attack his. But he is quite apologetic about what he heard his fellow Muslims did. I told him he did not need to. Because we both believe in a God, named differently. And we both believe in the great reckoning.

Meanwhile, we try to live in peace, as a way to show to the community that Christians and Muslims could both live in peaceful coexistence, anywhere, any time.

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