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"As Muslims, We Must Condemn These Acts..." Watching Benghazi From Rabat

In no uncertain terms, the editor-in-chief of Moroccan daily Le Soir/Echos condemns the violence at US embassies in nearby Muslim capitals.

A medina in Morocco
A medina in Morocco
Saâd A. Tazi

-Editorial –

RABAT - The assassination of diplomats and ransacking of the American embassies in Libya and Egypt, after an anti-Islam American film was posted on the Internet, must be condemned in the most forceful language. The desire to muzzle all those who do not share the same viewpoint is a delusion that can lead to dramatic situations like those on Wednesday.

The explosion of violence in Benghazi and Cairo is certainly not as spontaneous as some would like us to believe. Maybe it is an outlet for expressing a crisis of confidence or identity crisis or something else -- and the film, allegedly financed by a group of racists, is being used as an excuse to justify a reaction to an attack that has nothing to do with the official policy of the United States.

As Muslims, we must condemn these acts, which only encourage our detractors, who are happy to seize any chance to propound their absurd theories. These theories, each more absurd than the next, are legitimized by the fringes of society who are presented as representatives of the Arab Muslim world as a whole.

As intelligent people, we have a duty to listen to -- and accept the point of view of those who do not share our opinions; or simply to ignore these opinions, without giving them more importance than they deserve. This is not to glorify these opinions, but to accept that they exist. If we choose to demonstrate their limits, we will do so with intellectual counter-arguments and discussions, but never with violence.

We will not succeed in re-establishing the vision of a rich and humane civilization by adopting a defensive attitude. Reacting to every piece of nonsense produced anywhere on the globe is a waste of energy, and does nothing to diminish the amount of such nonsense. But if this energy were used wisely, in a positive, tolerant spirit, it would be the best weapon against those who seek to discredit us.

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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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