The Relationship Between the Muslim World and the United States and the Root of Islamophobia in America

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  In the next few postings we will be publishing articles written for Fuller Theological Seminary’s ground breaking initiative on bringing Muslims and American Evangelicals together in dialogue.  This first installment was written by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative and author of several books on Islam.  It first appeared in the 2016 edition of Fuller’s Journal. 

I appreciate the invitation to this important gathering of Evangelical and Muslim leaders who are committed to combatting human hatred and Islamophobia in particular. In the name of the one God that we both—Christians and Muslims—worship, recognize, and submit to, we beseech God to bless and guide us and to inspire us with God’s wisdom, compassion, love, mercy, and the ability to overcome the satanic or demonic forces that have created so many problems both within and between our faith communities.

To begin, I first say that, unless we understand a problem and fully fathom it, there is no way we can solve it. One of the most important lessons I have learned came from a teacher who said, “Understanding a problem is 90 percent of solving it.” Part of the problem that I believe has happened in this country, certainly before 9/11 and in its immediate aftermath, is that many of the people who are responsible for shaping American policy did not fully understand the problem that they were dealing with. This is particularly an issue for numerous members of our leadership, including many members of Congress, which has been most frustrating to me and others who are trying to help the situation.

As we all know, the prime reason for hostility in much of the Muslim world toward America has nothing to do with American values or American business—much of which is very popular throughout the Muslim world and in the majority of Muslim countries. The hostility is completely due to the very heavy footprint of American foreign policy, including its military power that the United States has in various parts of the Muslim world.

 

FULL ARTICLE FROM FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY SITE

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Christians, Muslims, Jews unite against hate in Delaware

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“We come together despite those who wish to divide us,” said Shehata, who worships at Masjid Ibrahim, a mosque in Newark. “Violence, bigotry, vandalism have no room, no place in any religion on the face on this Earth.”

The interfaith gathering was organized by the Rev. Ty Johnson, leader of Churches Take a Corner, a Wilmington anti-violence organization. Johnson said it was an opportunity for “folks to move their faith to action.”

“Domestic terrorism will not be tolerated, whether it’s bomb threats of Jewish communities, desecrating cemeteries, deportation, killings on the street,” he said. “It’s all terror.”

Faith leaders of churches, mosques and temples led prayers, sermons and songs in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Congregants mingled and told their neighbors: “You are worth loving.” The gathering ended with community members, hand in hand, singing the civil rights song “We Shall Overcome.”

Rabbi Michael Beals, acting director of the Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnerships, thanked the attendees for showing support to the Jewish community.

“What an act of true chesed, of kindness,” he said. “To our Muslims brothers and sisters … do not be shy to ask for support from the rest of us when you feel threatened.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM DELAWARE NEWS 

Why it’s absurd that a Muslim leader’s presence at the Washington National Cathedral is controversial

This opinion piece is by Hussein Rashid, PhD, founder of islamicate, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy.

President Trump is expected to appear Saturday at an interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral where Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society will offer the Muslim call to prayer.imrs

Several outlets reported a controversy over Magid’s participation in this service. While there may be fellow Muslims who disagree with the decision to participate by Magid or any other faith leader, that should not serve as a distraction. The larger controversy over an imam’s inclusion of the event demonstrates a continued lack of understanding of Muslim spiritual life and acceptance of Muslims as inherently different than American.

The adhan, or call to prayer, is an important aspect of Muslim devotional life. It can be prayerful, but it is not part of a formal prayer. To suggest that Magid is praying, presumably for the success of Trump, is mistaken. When Magid calls out “I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” there is no benediction for anyone. There is only the praise of the divine. By framing it simply as a prayer, someone who is unfamiliar with a quarter of the world’s population may think that despite Trump’s hateful rhetoric to his fellow Americans, they are ready to submit to him unconditionally.

What makes Magid’s participation controversial for many Americans is that he is Muslim with a religious leadership role and a congregation. Yet many other faith leaders are also at this event, and no one seems to see their presence as controversial.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Muslims, Jews and Christians unite to condemn murders of two Muslim men in New York

gettyimages-589921262Members of different Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith groups have banded together to condemn the senseless violence committed against two Muslim men that happened in Queens last weekend.

Last Saturday, an imam, or an Islamic worship leader, and his assistant were fatally shot by an unidentified suspect. The two men were killed in Ozone Park as they were leaving a prayer service. Police officials are still trying to determine the motive of the suspect for carrying out the attack.

Although it was not explicitly said that the murder was an act of religion-based violence, an interfaith group comprising the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Temple Beth El of Somerset, the Somerset Presbyterian Church and Fanwood Presbyterian Church released a statement to show their support for the families of the slain victims and their condemnation of the Queens shooting.

“On behalf of a broad multi-faith coalition of more than 120 organizations throughout New Jersey, we are deeply saddened at the cold-blooded assassination yesterday of Imam Maulana Akonjee of the Al Furqan Jame Masjid in Queens New York and his assistant Mr. Thara Uddin who were wearing the traditional Muslim garments,” the statement reads.

In addition, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) also made their own statements condemning the murder of the two Muslim men.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN DAILY

‘If we were not brothers before this, we certainly are brothers now,’ a Dallas imam tells a minister

The minister and the imam had known each other barely a year.

They had met at a vigil after the mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church in June 2015. They had encountered each other at rallies to protest gun violence and domestic violence, to memorialize a long-ago lynching, to counter a Ku Klux Klan rally, to remember victims of the Orlando attack.

“We’ve had to come together so many times because of tragedy and heartbreak,” said the Rev. Michael Waters, pastor of the Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church.

As the first shots rang out Thursday evening in downtown Dallas, tragedy and heartbreak again brought them together. Waters spotted Imam Omar Suleiman in the crowd near the intersection of Market and Commerce streets, and together they fled what had quickly become a war zone.

The two men, along with Waters’s wife and several parishioners, sprinted to the nearby Omni Hotel. Waters, in a clergy collar and a T-shirt that read “Hope Dealer,” soon flagged down the driver of a Ford Excursion and offered him all of the cash in his wallet to take the group back to his church in South Dallas.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST