A book I read long ago had a large impact on me. It was called "The way of the Sufi". The Sufi are a mystic sect which holds Jesus and Mohamed as great religious teachers...They worship "The One God", and they are teachers and pacifists. Here is a Sufi parable I remember:
A group of disciples were awed by Jesus's ability to restore life to the dead. They wished the great prophet would teach them this secret. After all, was not death the greatest enemy of mankind?
Jesus told them that this was a very dangerous power to have, "Death is not always your enemy", he told them.
These disciples did not hear these words and continued to beseech Jesus to tell them the secrets of reversing death.
Jesus looked at them and, with a sad expression, told them that he would teach them, but that they did not yet have the wisdom to use this power properly and to refrain from exercizing their new power until such time as they had the wisdom and knowlege to use it only for the purposes of good.
Jesus taught them well, and then the disciples set off on a journey upon which they planned to gain the wisdom they still required. Traveling in a great woods, they came upon a pile of bones, picked clean by scavengers.
"Look at this poor being!" they said. "Death has taken him...But now, we have the power to defeat Death."
Looking at each other they agreed that this was the perfect time to try their new power and they set about "Raising the dead". AS they completed their task, suddenly the pile of bones was transformed, not into a person as they had expected, but into a large and ravenous tiger, as it had been before in life.
Awakening from death, starving and seeing the disciples, the tiger immediately killed them everyone and devoured them. Its hunger satisfied, the tiger napped and then set off through the great woods.
No one ever knew what happened to the disciples until now, since I have just informed you of their fate.
There are thought to be many levels of meaning to a Sufi parable.
The Sufi in Iraq are being killed. Since the U.S. invasion, up to one third of these gentle people have been murdered. Why? They play music, they dance, they meditate, they go about their daily lives wishing no one harm.
Here is the story: