What Christianity and Islam have in common

Inter-religious meeting in a church

24 May 2012, Paris, France — Inter-religious meeting in a church — Image by © Pascal Deloche/Godong/Corbis

There are many people today who argue Islam and Christianity are locked in a civilizational war, a view that has become a rationale for a number of the Trump administration’s policies.

This argument, however, is an inaccurate and simplistic assessment of the relationship between these two faiths. Quite distinct from the apocalyptic struggle many espouse, an examination of the foundations of the Islamic faith shows respect for Christianity.

Islam is part of the same Abrahamic tradition as Christianity. Key figures within the Bible — Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), Mary (Maryam), and Jesus (Isa) among others — are all respected prophets and figures within Islam. There is a chapter in the Quran about Mary and, within the Quran, Jesus is the only person who can perform miracles.

Within Islam, Christians and Jewish people are therefore treated as “People of the Book” whose rights and religious traditions were to be fully protected as monotheistic faiths with revelations understood to be earlier versions of the same revelation to the Prophet of Islam.

Faith and Values : Muslims, Christians have much in common

wk25-jan-muslim-christian-zayed-vaticanAll months tend to bring to mind the special events that occur within them; for the month of April, it is Spring and Easter.

Muslims also believe in Jesus, the son of Mary. As a matter of fact, from the 114 chapters that consist in the Holy Qur’an, the 19th one is named after his Mother, Surah Maryam, or Chapter Mary.

Within this chapter, the story of Jesus’s miraculous birth is told. He is mentioned many times throughout the Holy Qur’an. Millions of Muslims are also named after the son and mother, which is Isa and Maryam in Arabic. Thus, if studied, one will find many similarities with the Christian faith when it comes to Jesus, from his virgin birth to his miracles, i.e. curing the lepers and bringing the dead back to life.

The main differences between Muslims and Christians about Jesus regard his divinity and his death. Muslims honor Jesus as a great prophet of God who was not crucified, but taken to the heavens alive, and that he and will reappear during the end of time, the Second Coming of Christ.

A very interesting note is that Easter this year will be on April 21, 2019, which will fall on the Islamic date of the 15th of the month of Shaban, the birth anniversary of the 12th Imam, Muhammad al Mahdi. He is the great-grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE MORNING CALL 

When Muslims come to the Jewish-Christian table

study-862994_1280-771x514(RNS) — I spent the 16th anniversary of 9/11 at the 16th annual meeting of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, held under the joint auspices of the Union and Jewish theological seminaries in New York City. Appropriately, the central question before the group was how best to expand long-standing Jewish-Christian interfaith encounters in America to include Muslims.

My assignment was to discuss the use of “Judeo-Christian” language to reinforce the idea of a clash of civilizations. As in when Tony Perkins said on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” in 2014, “We are a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that’s the foundation of our nation, not Islam, but the Judeo-Christian God.”

Or when, last year, retired Air Force Col. Tom Snodgrass, a contributor to a website called Right Side News, referred to “the overt and covert war being conducted by the political forces of Islam in order to subjugate the Judeo-Christian religions and their societies.”

A fellow panelist was Columbia’s distinguished Middle East historian Richard Bulliet, who spoke about his “Islamo-Christian” conception, first published in 2004 as “The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization.” Bulliet’s idea is that theologically, doctrinally, and historically, Islam and Christianity have far more in common than most adherents of either faith tradition realize.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE 

Can Christians and Muslims Pray Together?

CRS | Lobaye Prefecture Emergency Food Security Project | Lobaye | Central African RepublicThere are two versions of this question. One is often asked in academic or ‘official’ settings, the other is ‘can we pray together’. This second question arises where Christians and Muslims meet together. Indeed it was asked at the first leaders event that the Christian Muslim Forum organised. We included Christian and Muslim prayers separately on the programme (something we still do). But even when we pray together, we tend to ‘do’ our own prayers. So what of praying together?

 When people ask the question I don’t think they mean “Can we share in saying a prayer together” i.e. can we all say the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ together? Although the Lord’s Prayer probably works quite well for Muslims (except for the opening words, ‘Our Father’). Nor are people saying “Can Christians join in the salah?” (Muslim congregational prayer). They want to know if we can sit, or stand, together and pray as a community of the faithful. What could be better or more normal for people of prayer?

Unless we have an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response we should admit that we’re not ready for this question. One approach might be to ask whether we are worshipping the ‘same God’ – which is probably another discussion. I personally find that an odd question, with its potential associations of strange and other ‘gods’.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN MUSLIM FORUM 

 

Muslim and Christian Religious Leaders Rally Together to Support Christians in Middle East

kaiciid_konferenz_unitedReligious leaders at Athens meeting to propose projects to support citizenship rights and peaceful coexistence between Christians, other religious and ethnic groups and Muslims.

Religious leaders from Christian and Muslim communities in the Middle East will gather in Athens in September to discuss plans to better support the citizenship rights of Christian, other religious and ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria.

The meeting, which will take place from 2 to 3 September, is a joint initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Vienna-based KAICIID Dialogue Centre, with the support of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting will bring together Christian and Muslim religious leaders from across the Middle East, including representatives from the Armenian, Catholic, Evangelical, Rum (Greek) Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Sunni, Shi’a and Druze communities.

His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, who is a member of the KAICIID Board of Directors, said the meeting will give Muslim and Christian religious leaders the chance to intensify their joint work to address the critical situation facing Christians, and other minority groups, in Iraq and Syria, where violence and political upheaval have placed long-established communities in jeopardy.

“Christian communities are integral parts of the diverse societies of the Middle East. It is essential for religious leaders from all faiths and denominations to speak with one voice, and address this current crisis to preserve the endangered communities. Christian communities have lived in this region for over 2,000 years and contribute to all aspects of Middle Eastern societies. Their loss would be a catastrophe for coexistence and the region as a whole,” he said.

The meeting will underline the role of religious leaders as active peacemakers, rather than passive observers of religious co-existence and conflict. The leaders will take stock of the existing situation, map out requirements, share best practices and develop concrete follow-up measures that can be implemented at the regional level.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE 

The Genocide Initiative – When Islam and Christianity come together against radicalism

topicBy Catherine Shakdom

Terror has a face and it moves under the ominous black flag of ISIS. Under each of its denomination, whatever the language and whichever the angle, terror today, has found a powerful vessel in the ideology carried by Wahhabism – the fountainhead of radicalism and religious extremism.

An evil onto the world, ISIS miasms have darkened the skies of Arabia, threatening to engulf regions and continents in their deadly and godless embrace. Before ISIS, no communities can claim shelter, no faith stands immune and no man, woman or child can hope to survive.

At such a time when terror is being debated in the public squares, its ideology dissected and its methodology studied; as experts and world leaders have scrambled to make sense of the nonsensical and thus find means to combat a movement rooted in hatred and blood, men of faith have stepped out of the shadow to reclaim God and reclaim Religion.

It all started with one man and a universal message of peace.

In October 2013, Dr John Andrew Morrow published a book, “The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad and the Christians of the World.” Meant as both a testament and a witness to Islam’s commitment to interfaith solidarity, Dr Morrow’s book found a deep echo among Muslims and Christians.

A bridge in between communities and a reminder of sacred oaths spoken long ago, The Covenants Initiative was born under the impetus of men such as Dr Morrow and Charles Upton, a light shone forth against the darkness of radicalism, a shield against the evil of war.

As words quickly spread and as more gathered around the Covenants Initiative, a plan began to form – one which would see men of all faiths come come together against takfirism.

Today, under the impetus of the Covenants Initiative and thanks to the courage of countless Muslims and Christians, a movement is being born – one which will fight evil with what is better, one which will answer violence with solidarity and unshakable resolve.

Today Muslims and Christians have said to be ready to break ISIS where it stands and denounce its deeds for what they are: religious genocide.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AHUL AL BAYT NEWS AGENCY 

Christians Join Muslims in Fasting for Ramadan

Like 1.6 billion Muslims around the world fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, Jeff Cook has been rising before dawn each morning to have breakfast. He doesn’t eat again until breaking his fast with dinner.

But Mr. Cook isn’t Muslim, doesn’t have close Muslims friends, and has never been inside a mosque. The Christian pastor from Greeley, Colo., is fasting for the 30 days of Ramadan, which ends Friday, as part of a nascent effort among American Christians to better understand and support Muslims.

Jeff Cook Published Credit: Kelly Cook

Muslims make up less than 2% of the U.S. population, and are expected to remain a small minority in the U.S. for decades, even as Islam grows rapidly in other parts of the world. Still, aggressive recruiting efforts by Islamic extremists in the West and calls for attacks from within has affected the larger Muslim community here, and colored many Americans’ views of them.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, Americans have more negative feelings toward Muslims than any other religious group.

“I’m fasting to remind myself there’s people all over the world that matter to God who embrace Islam,” Mr. Cook said recently. “I want to remind myself and my culture that we can have a different posture in our hearts toward those who embrace Islam.”

His fasting has been tested daily, most severely by a bag of Corn Nuts his family munched on during a five-hour road trip to South Dakota. His wife and two small sons support him, but aren’t fasting themselves.

He remembers thinking, “Those Corn Nuts look like filet mignon right now.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WALL STREET TIMES