Many Americans have about had it with bad news informing of or alleging Muslim involvement in terrorism and nobody in the mainstream wants to hear any more of this. Not helping Americans’ to achieve a positive perspective on Muslims is even more bad news emerging from time to time alleging incidents of “Christophobia” in the Muslim world. Indeed, as much as nobody in the mainstream wants to hear or read any more of this bad news, neither do American Muslims.
We could consider an example of one of these news items that would tend to suggest that Islam is necessarily “Christophobic.” The article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World,” in “Newsweek,” on February 6, 2012 assures us that, “In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations.”
At first sight, this depiction of Muslims appears terrible but this is not the larger historical reality. While there may indeed be incidents of oppression against Christians in the Muslim world, any stereotype of any majority of Muslims being necessarily anti-Christian is simply not representative of either the historical or contemporary larger truth of the religion or of Christian-Muslim relations. American Muslims will need to be savvy about the larger historical and contemporary reality of Christian-Muslim relations to respond to such allegations. American Muslims will also need to understand the unique political context of any situation of conflict between communities to get at the real reasons behind any incidents of intolerance or oppression. Most importantly, while relations between Christians and Muslims are usually good, if they ever are not in any situation, we can be determined to continue to pursue better interfaith relations in the USA.