Thursday, May 25, 2006

Comment regarding "A Christian Fatwa?"

A reader (perhaps from the United Kingdom?) commented regarding the post below entitled A Christian Fatwa?

Thank you, sir!I (and the silent majority of Muslims) concur with you whole-heartedly and whole-mindedly.

I am very grateful for this brief comment. It warms my heart.

I thought I would extend somewhat my earlier comments regarding Islam and Christianity.

Muslims and Christians are brothers and sisters. We have clear and obvious differences in regard to our beliefs and how we worship, but none of those differences require us to be enemies.

We both (as well as those who are Jewish) worship the God of Abraham. We are people of whom kind treatment of others is expected as a tenant of faith. We are both people who struggle on the spiritual path- a path of both inner growth and improvement of the world in which we live. Instead of building up arms of war, we should be extending arms of friendship and embracing our brothers and sisters.

After 9/11, I knew what was going to happen in this nation. The US has always had difficulties regarding race and religion. 300 years of slavery. 100 years of terrible legalized discrimination against African-Americans. Persecution of Catholics and Jews. Internment of the Japanese during WWII. I knew that some would seek to blame Islam and Arabs generally for what had happened. Not only did some cast blame, some took violent actions.

I took it upon myself to learn more about Islam. I knew enough prior to that date to know that the stereotypes were not accurate, but not enough to challenge those stereotypes and those who would assert them. I read books about Islam by fair-minded people (like Karen Armstrong), and, most importantly, I read the Quran. I had a Muslim student in class who told me once that some people take up the challenge during Ramadan to read the entire Quran. I didn't quite make it, but I eventually finished. I learned so much. First, my personal spirituality was enriched. Second, my sense of Muslims as brothers and sisters was strengthened. Finally, I learned that the Quran is not a "blueprint for violence", but, quite to the contrary, would specifically prohibit the acts of terrorism that we often see committed in the name of Islam.

I am by no means a sholar on the subject of Islam, but my studies have been very important for me personally and professionally. The personal reasons are alluded to above. The professional reasons have to do with my work as a teacher. Now I can teach my students, using their questions and statements as opportunities, that their stereotypes are inaccurate, and not helpful to ultimately solving our problems with the terrorism that is found in the world.

The vocal, and sometimes violent, minority in the world of Islam twist the faith to promote their objectives and justify their immoral acts- just as some Christians have done past and present. The "silent majority", to use the words of the reader, are people of faith and love. We must strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between that majority and the majority of Christians who would seek to create a "beloved community" of love and peace.

Written in peace and love to all my brothers and sisters of faith,


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