Our Muslim siblings have been under attack this week. While Muslim discrimination is not new, it’s taking more emboldened forms than ever before in the Trump era.
Last Friday, it came in the form of a travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries. On Tuesday, we learned that “extreme vetting” for some travelers from Muslim-majority countries would include prying into their social media accounts and phone records. On Wednesday, Reuters revealedthat the Trump administration would change the previously named “Countering Violent Extremism” program to “Countering Islamic Extremism,” dropping any focus on other extremist groups like white supremacists.
This is a clarion call for Christian action. If we don’t act now in solidarity with our Muslim siblings, we’ve got no legitimate reason to claim we are followers of Jesus, a man executed by the state for his own supposed “religious extremism.”
We’ve seen the institutionalization of religious bigotry into public policy before. Baptists were even subject to this violence in the past: Thomas Helwys, the founder of the Baptist way of faith, died in the King’s Newgate Prison in 1616 for his perspectives on religious liberty. Roger Williams, the progenitor of Baptists in America, was banished to the wilderness in 1635 where he founded Providence — this for his “dangerous opinions” (e.g., abolitionism, fair treatment of Native people, religious liberty).