And the Sun Will Rise from the West

It was a great pleasure to meet, listen to, and befriend Rafaat Ludin. Yesterday, I spent several hours walking within the great silence of Plaza Blanca, a natural sanctuary which is part of the 5,000 acres of beauty upon which Dar al Islam is blessed to dwell within.

Rafaat, along with his colleague, Windham Loopesko, wrote a book entitled, …and the Sun Will Rise from the West: The Predicament of “Islamic Terrorism” and the Way Out. Their belief is that it is the Muslims from the United States and Europe, not the Muslims from Muslim majority countries, who will, and are, finding the way out.

Though I was raised and educated as a progressive Jew in Philadelphia, and Rafaat was raised as a Muslim in Afghanistan, we connected immediately. So quickly, we had become friends.

For a short while we walked together. Clearly, he was a good walker: graceful, strong, vital. I later asked him about this. He said he spends an hour every morning walking in Plaza Blanca, sometimes in silence, sometimes singing, and often listening to podcasts of great Islamic scholars like Hamza Yusuf, Tariq Ramadan, and others.

Rafaat showed me around and took me inside of the mosque, a building unlike any I had ever seen. Read and marvel and the photos that capture the making of this mosque.

Here are a few photos, just taken on my phone, of my walk in Plaza Blanca. This sacred space is only 25 minutes from where I live. We will, of course, be spending time here during my summer and fall Walking Way Gatherings.

Summer/Fall Gatherings in New Mexico 2024

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