It’s been a couple of millennia since the birth of Jesus and approximately one and a half since the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. A few things have changed since the gathering of stories for the Bible and the Quran began, such as the evolution of languages, the ways in which we communicate, the environment in which we live, the acknowledgement that slavery is despicable . . . oh, and the acknowledgement that women are citizens. Just like men! No longer need we be discriminated against, as in ancient times when we were considered “impure”, because we have a menstrual cycle! Maybe it’s time for a brand new religion?
B created a religion many years ago, in college. His reasons were, well quite selfish. He’d been seeing a girl and he didn’t want to see her anymore, but he didn’t have the heart (guts?) to tell her, so what else could he do, really? He ran into her one day, on campus, and she said, “Oh, I haven’t seen you around lately.” And he said, “Well I’ve found this new religion.” And she said, “Oh, what’s it called?” And he said, because he thinks fast on his feet and was a fan of M*A*S*H back then, “Habibiism.”
Habibi was Klinger’s imaginary camel, so, extrapolate that and Habibiism can be anyone’s imaginary religion. I’m hearing John Lennon: “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky . . .” Habibi is also an Arabic and Hebrew word, meaning “friend”, so I think it’s fitting that our new religion not only means “friend”, but also has a name associated with the Middle East, the origin of so many religions and, ironically, so very much unrest. Perhaps by being Habibiist friends we could put all of this unrest to rest?
So, getting back to B and the ex-girl, he went on about how Habibiists meet a lot – the reason he hadn’t called her – and how fantastic of a religion it is and by the time he asked her if she’d like to go with him sometime, to check it out, she’d bolted.
What exactly is Habibiism (besides a ditching-of-a-date-methodology)? B explains: Habibiism is a completely disorganized religion that accepts all friends no matter what they believe, or don’t believe. You can meet, or not. You can meet in a church, or a mosque, or a temple or a shack by the river. You can believe in Yahweh, or God, or the Prophet Mohammad, or the Great Eagle, or cartoons about Yahweh/God/Prophet Mohammed/Great Eagle. Or you can believe in Buddha, or yoga, or being gluten-free, or vegan, or not.
And Habibiists don’t even care if you join. They’re disorganized, remember? You can’t join.
Habibiism is a free religion you can really get behind, or below, or on top of. Like an imaginary camel. Jump on it and ride, like that incredible, magical, powerful wave of a million-plus-people in Paris on Sunday. And scream to that grand sky, “Je suis Charlie! Je suis Habibi!”
Because flogging and stoning and beheading and discrimination and the murdering of cartoonists is barbaric. And we are not barbarians. The world’s response to the atrocious murders in Paris last week indicates the majority of us prefer freedom of speech over censorship. Kindness over hatred. Peace over terror.