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Harrison Gets Another Lesson in Compassion

HARRISON, N.Y. – Sr. Haifa Bint-Kadi spoke Monday night about compassion at the Harrison Public Library in continuation of its "Building Common Ground" series that started last week.

"You have to listen to a person you have a problem with rather than take a platform or a political stance," Bint-Kadi said. "We need to come together and debate our issues, which will bring about more compassion. Compassion is not about winning. We need to be in it together."

Bint-Kadi said that compassion is a lofty concept but it is people's humanness and realness that connect us to others. Just because people are tolerant, Bint-Kadi said that does not make them compassionate, adding that to be compassionate one has to be aware of themselves and others as well.

"Having tolerance doesn't necessarily mean that you care about somebody," Bint-Kadi said. "I've worked with Jewish and Palestinian groups for years and at first we met at neutral locations. Now members of both groups are meeting at each other homes and attending each other's weddings and religious services."

Bint-Kadi said that in classroom settings, compassion is hard to achieve because children tend to target others who have flaws. Bint-Kadi said that kids can be trained to not think about how they feel in the moment but to look at how the other person is feeling.

"We need to think about others needs and how they feel," Bint-Kadi said. "You will often times find that your need and the person you disagree with in the moment may be very similar. If we understand compassion we can better see where we are in our own lives."

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