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Switch to Forum Live View Unprecedented Muslim-Christian relations
6 years ago  ::  Nov 24, 2007 - 5:40AM #1
thinkabit
Posts: 4
I'm surprised I don't see this mentioned in this forum, so I'll bring it up.
In October, 138 Muslim Scholars wrote an appeal to Christians to seek a common ground.
It's written in www.acommonword.com

Later, the New York Times published out of Yale, a Christian response to the letter.
www.yale.edu/faith/abou-commonword.htm

(please read them before reading the rest of this, or it won't make sense).

Read both items above?
Great.
Moving on...

I think it is a good step for both faiths to seek to educate their own followers to respect the followers of the other faith & live in peace, as well as rebuke those in their own midst who try to mistreat followers of the other one - whether it be against Christians living in a "Muslim country", or against Muslims living in a "Christian country".  (don't all countries belong to God, not to any one religion?).

Since all the Muslim scholars call for love of God and love of their neighbor, whoever they may be, to be the common word between us, here are things both sides must turn from in order to improve relations.  (in any relationships, if there are no apologies when other is offended, then there are still walls between them).

On Christian side to Muslims:
1) Viewing Muslims, and talking about Muslims, with generalizations - most often in the negative - as if all were terrorists, or want to take over countries & make them all Muslim.  This may be in the minds of some, but it is wrong to generalize it for all, or even majority, of Muslims.

2) Christians spreading ill-will about Muslims and generalizing about them all as a threat.  Many books written by Christians about Muslims leave the reader either afraid of, suspicious of, or even bitter towards Muslims.  This in the name of the Prince of Peace!  Christian authors who propogate such books should repent of fostering ill-will.  If evils under the name of Islam are to be exposed, the particular individuals or groups should be chastised, together with Muslims who also oppose the same evils of non-love, rather than leave the false impression that all Muslims are such & such.

3) There have been several apologies on behalf of history of Christians violence to Muslims in time of the crusades. It's worth stating again, since it is still brought up as something that has never been officially forgiven - though there have been official, public apologies from Christian leaders.  (to forgive means to never bring it up again as a debt or hang it over their heads).

4) Christians should apologize for disrespecting Mohammed - whether in cartoons, (though, I doubt whether the person in that famous case in Dutch paper was indeed a "christian"), or throwing insults or names.  It is one thing to have a difference of opinion on his "prophethood", but polite disagreement goes beyond love when it turns to attack of something sacred to one's religion - it then becomes a personal attack.

There are many things Christians & Muslims & Jews have in common, as a good basis for dialogue and mutual respect.  Disagreement on some issues can be honestly discussed when we know we won't be attacked for having a different view (only the insecure make threats to people who view differently, or are afraid to tell others of a different view) - and never does difference of belief give either side any right to be rude or disrespectful in tone or conversation or action in present or behind their back to followers of the other faith - the person or of anything the other holds sacred.

Now what should perhaps Muslims should officially & publicly apologize for in past or recent treatment of Christians in this world, in the spirit of the 138 Muslim scholars who wrote the common word:
(actually, a Muslim should write this one.  Anybody bold enough to?)

If you want my opinion, go ahead & ask, but I'd rather a Muslim take initiative in this.

A good initiative was taken in "a common word" to relate to each other with love for God & for each other.  This is good.  Someone now needs to take initiative, like many Christians have in the past, of apologizing on behalf of past wrongs Muslims have done to Christians.  This will tear down walls between relations like nothing else.

I myself apologize on behalf of many Christians who feel the way I do,
for times in the past I've done some of 1,2, & 3 above.
I also find myself scolding Christians around me for bad-mouthing Muslims in generalizations, and try to educate them (some just don't know, have never met Muslim families personally) about the common Muslim as being no different than they.  I try to stop people when they go too far from disagreeing with aspects of Islam or theology, to the realm of attacking the people.  I also try to turn from the favored negative "us vs them" approach, to a focus on what we have in common - starting from creation & Adam & great patriarchs like Abraham, etc.

I look forward to your replies.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 26, 2007 - 5:07AM #2
jaybird41
Posts: 3
Go to ( Church of Jesus Christ of Laterday Saints ) type in Muslim in the surch space.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2007 - 3:27AM #3
urantianuser
Posts: 24
Thanks for sharing those links . We get so much bad new it is good to see something good for a change.

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE SUBJECT A LITTLE BETTER I RECOMMEND THE BOOK BY MICHAEL B. OREN,

POWER, FAITH, and FANTASY, ISBN - 13: 978 - 0 - 393 -05826 - 0

AMERICA in the MIDDLE EAST 1776 to the PRESENT, Covering over 230 years of history understanding the roots of America's Middle East involvement today.
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 10:02AM #4
Priscilla
Posts: 14
Thank you very much for this posting. It's important and timely.

I co-authored a book called The Faith Club - A Muslim, A Christian, a Jew - Three Women Search for Understanding. We were chosen to be the first book featured on Beliefnet's new book club discussion:

http://community.beliefnet.com/?page_id … oup_id=294

and we have also addressed this very issue on our blog at our website:

www.thefaithclub.com
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 10:02AM #5
Priscilla
Posts: 14
Thank you very much for this posting. It's important and timely.

I co-authored a book called The Faith Club - A Muslim, A Christian, a Jew - Three Women Search for Understanding. We were chosen to be the first book featured on Beliefnet's new book club discussion:

http://community.beliefnet.com/?page_id … oup_id=294

and we have also addressed this very issue on our blog at our website:

www.thefaithclub.com
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2008 - 7:26PM #6
taqiyy
Posts: 156
Hi Thinkabit et al,

[QUOTE=thinkabit;90689]There are many things Christians & Muslims & Jews have in common, as a good basis for dialogue and mutual respect.  Disagreement on some issues can be honestly discussed when we know we won't be attacked for having a different view (only the insecure make threats to people who view differently, or are afraid to tell others of a different view) - and never does difference of belief give either side any right to be rude or disrespectful in tone or conversation or action in present or behind their back to followers of the other faith - the person or of anything the other holds sacred.[/QUOTE]

There are indeed a great deal of similarities between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, though somehow that seems to get lost in the rhetoric.  Just take a walk through the Discuss Islam forum (located among the Discussion/Debate forums) and you'll see excellent examples of the kind of ego-driven crossfire that I'm talking about.  Everyone is so busy trying to prove themselves right (mostly in proving Islam wrong) that there is no room left for any meaningful exchange of ideas.

Unfortunately, it seems to be those kinds of forums that draw the most amount of attention, while forums dedicated to interfaith dialog (such as this) or charities see very little action.

But enough complaining - I just needed to get that bad taste out of my mouth.

The Common Word initiative, I think, is an excellent start.  The only problem I see is, how is follow-up to be addressed?  We need to see dialog open up on a broad scale, not just in a few isolated conferences or letter exchanges.

Peace and guidance.  :)
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2008 - 7:05AM #7
keesiewonder
Posts: 221
Thank you for initiating this thread! I just read a small article in Christian Century on this dialog from their 11-Dec-2007 issue. The article is titled "Christian response grows to Muslim plea for global dialog." A paragraph from the article reads as follows:

The Christian authors said they were "heartened" by the Muslim appeal and concluded: "It is with humility and hope that we receive your generous letter and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose."
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