Malik Neal

Malik Neal

Commonweal Magazine

January 23, 2015 issue

Last Word: Room for Both?
Praying with a Terrorist

Written by Malik Neal, faculty member at La Salle Academy, New York, and currently in the Brothers’ Contact program.

It was June 27, a Friday, and the sun was disappearing slowly into the clouds over Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Peninsula. A pile of trash smoldered on the dirt road, and as the heat of the day faded, a warm breeze carried the stench through the window of the room I was waiting in. Spider webs hung limply from the corners of the low ceiling, and a pair of well-worn sandals sat on the floor, beneath a cracked mirror.

A low, almost inaudible voice emerged: “Welcome to my home. Please, sit.”

My host and I shook hands, and I took the chair opposite him at a small, rectangular table.

I remember the date and the details because the man was a terrorist.

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