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Churches Across America Read From the Quran

(via. Islamophobia-Today)

Churches across America read from the Quran

by Tad Stahnke

Washington, DC – Although negative stories of Islamophobia in the United States abound in news media, most Americans respect religious diversity. That’s why on Sunday, June 26, thousands of people across America joined together at dozens of churches and other houses of worship across the country. Congregants united to do far more than read Christian scriptures; from Alabama to Alaska, from California to New York, worshippers also heard the words of Jewish and Muslim sacred texts as rabbis and imams joined pastors in leading an event called Faith Shared.

A joint project of Human Rights First and the Interfaith Alliance, Faith Shared brought Americans together to counter the anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past few years and led to misconceptions, distrust and, in some cases, even violence.

If I were living in a Muslim-majority country, I might think the United States is filled with people burning the Quran, demonizing Islamic beliefs and tarring all Muslims as supporters of radicalism and terrorism. To the casual observer, the anti-Islam fervor of late would seem to bear that out, but the truth is far more complicated.

It is true that in recent years the United States has seen a disturbing trend of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and rhetoric, as well as a general lack of understanding about Islam. We’ve seen Quran burnings, individuals attacked only because they are Muslim, a pipe bomb explosion at an Islamic community center in Florida and a surge in reported cases of discrimination against Muslims in workplaces and schools throughout the country.

But those incidents – all of which have grabbed headlines – don’t represent the views of so many Americans who respect religious freedom and the diversity of faiths that freedom brings. In fact, a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that more than 60 percent of Americans believe that Muslims are an important part of the American religious community, with strong agreement across political and religious lines. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently released a report showing that much of the hatred directed toward Muslims has been stirred up by a small but influential group of activists and media.

Discussions about the role of Islam and Muslims in American life have all too often degenerated into stereotypes and hatred. If not challenged, these can undermine respect for the religious freedom of all Americans and weaken our resilience as a nation.

And the concerns go beyond our country. What happens in the United States with respect to the treatment of Muslims, rightly or wrongly, has a huge impact overseas on the perception of the country in general, and on U.S. efforts to promote human rights abroad.

It’s imperative for the international community to support efforts to create responsive governments – those that give equal rights to members of all minorities, protect religious freedoms and allow for the freedoms of expression and assembly. The United States can and should play a key role in supporting those efforts.

For that reason, it’s vital to recognize that what happens in the United States – how Americans protect human rights and religious freedoms and how they deal with security issues in relation to the Muslim community – influences how the international community perceives the American people’s commitment to promoting democracy. A message of respect among religious groups in the United States, one that says anti-Muslim fervor is only a small part of the American story, will strengthen that commitment in the eyes of many.

As we continue in this effort, my colleagues and I are not naive about the challenges that can divide America along religious lines. Muslims are not alone among Americans in terms of bearing the brunt of stereotypes and hatred. Indeed, with the Faith Shared services, we sent and will continue to send a clear message: Despite the challenges, the way forward must begin with respect.

We cannot solve these problems in a day but on June 26, Americans across the country showed that we respect religious differences and reject the demonization of any religion. Americans are a nation not of the few who burn Qurans and incite hatred, but of the many who fully embrace religious freedom, tolerance and pluralism.

* Tad Stahnke is the Director of Policy and Programs at Human Rights First. This originally published by the Common Ground News Service, or CGNews.

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  • http://www.amazon.com/Islamic-Science-European-Renaissance-Transformations/dp/0262195577 Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance

    Ahmed, this is not about humanity, it is about theology.

    Some Christian churches, like the right wing Evangelical do not tolerate any religion, even other Christians. all Christian churches are not the same. Whilst we have many Christian friends, they are from those Christian churches that do not have extremist “I am the only way to God” view, that should not blind us to the hatred coming from the intolerant right wing Churches towards not just Islam but Judaism, Hinduism, atheism,

    This same problem exists in Islam too, where the extremists consider Christinas, Jews and others as being Kufaar, even other Muslims who do not share their extremism are declared as heretics and apostates.

    This is not about humanity, it’s about theology.

  • ahmed

    Its a very bad thought some Muslims have that Christians do not tolerate Islam when i have many mates who respect my religion and I respect theirs.

    We are all humans after all

  • http://www.amazon.com/Islamic-Science-European-Renaissance-Transformations/dp/0262195577 Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance

    Islam’s Acceptance of Judaism and Christianity

    We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So, compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God, and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed. (Qur’an, 5:48)

    Muslims, Christians, and Jews have common principles of faith, worship, and moral values and face common dangers. Thus, the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) are called on to unite with Muslims as fellow believers opposed to atheism, anti-religiosity, and social as well as moral degeneration. All Jews, Christians, and Muslims who are sincere, conscientious, tolerant, helpful, conciliatory, reasonable, virtuous, peaceful, and fair to recognize that we believe in the same God and strive to live and extend the reach of God’s morality, should spread this virtue around the world.

    We Muslims love and respect Prophets Moses (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), know that they are loved and dear people in God’s presence, and believe in all His Prophets. Furthermore, we respect Jewish and Christian beliefs, values, and traditions, for God commands us to invite the People of the Book to “unite on a common premise”:

    Say: “O People of the Book! Come to a proposition that is the same for us and you-that we should worship none but God, not associate any partners with Him, and not take one another as lords besides God.” If they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Qur’an, 3:64)

    Muslims are people who believe in the Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) as well as in the earlier divinely revealed books: the Pages of Abraham (pbuh), the Torah revealed to Moses (pbuh), the Book of Psalms revealed to David (pbuh), and the Bible revealed to Jesus (pbuh). However, over time these books were tampered with and therefore contain both accurate (e.g., belief in God, virtue, the Day of Judgment, and the rejection of idolatry), and inaccurate information. Some of the verses read:
    He has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what was there before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel. (Qur’an, 3:3-4)


    We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light, and the Prophets who had submitted themselves gave judgment by it for the Jews?as did their scholars and their rabbis?by what they had been allowed to preserve of God’s Book, to which they were witnesses. (Qur’an, 5:44)

    God states that the People of the Book are believers as thus:

    They are not all the same. There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite God’s Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in God and the Last Day, enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. God knows those who guard against evil. (Qur’an, 3:113-15)

    Among the People of the Book are some who believe in God and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before God. They do not sell God’s Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And God is swift at reckoning. (Qur’an, 3:199)

    Therefore, a Muslim’s attitude toward the People of the Book reflects the probable existence of genuinely faithful people among them. Only God knows the hearts of people, and He reveals that some Jews and Christians have earned His good pleasure.

    God reveals that He has created a way and a method for all nations. Throughout history, He has sent Prophets to people to inform them of His laws, commands, and prohibitions. Essentially, all Prophets have invited their nations to believe in and worship God and to abide by the limits He has established for humanity. In other words, all true religions in their original state are based on the principles of not associating others with Him and of working to win His good pleasure, compassion, and Paradise. All nations are expected to follow God’s will without fail and to do good deeds in order to earn His reward:

    We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So, compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God, and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed. (Qur’an, 5:48)

    By Br. Harun Yahya
    http://www.muslimbridges.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=868:islams-acceptance-of-judaism-and-christianity&catid=28:features-a-commentary&Itemid=37

  • Sam Seed

    @eslaporte

    Glad to hear that you have read the Quran, it also says a few good things about good Christians such as yourself:-

    “…and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant” (5:82).

  • http://www.muslimheritage.com/ Muslim Heritage.com

    you don’t even have to read from the Quran.

    Just stop demonising Islam, and let Muslims be Muslims. That’s all we ask. We’re not about shoving our beliefs into other peoples throats.

  • Nur Alia

    eslaporte..

    Where I live, although most people are Muslim or Taoist, and Buddhist, there are some Christians, and most of then until very recently are Catholic.

    When I am told the history of the Catholic Christian people here…and how they stood by people like me and how they also suffered with people like my ancestors during the Japanese occupation, I admire them.

    So…we know Christians are good people, and Jesus taught a good message to us all…partly because we can read it in the Qur’an, and partly because we see Christians in practice.

    I think you and I can maybe be friends on Facebook or something like that.

    I do wear the hijab…but I am NOT like the mother of Jesus…lol. Ask my friends.

  • http://www.yellow-stars.com eslaporte

    Yes – I have read from the Koran…and I am impressed with what it has to say about Jesus, the Son of Mary, as well as Mary herself.

    As a Catholic, I adore both our Lady and her Son, Jesus.

    When I seen a Muslim lady with the headscarf, I think about Mary, the Mother of Jesus!

    We should be glad that the majority of Christians and Jews here in the Western world are not Islamophobes and regard Muslims as fellow EQUAL citizens that should enjoy the same religious freedoms that we do.

  • Ismail

    Fantastic article. When it comes down to it, despite the rise in Islamophobia, America is still the best place on earth to be a practicing Muslim.

    I can practice Islam in the manner which I choose (in line with the Quran and Sunnah of course) without having to worry about being blown to bits in my masjid by extremists of one sect or another, without being labeled by the majority as “non Muslim” and without any persecution.

    This simply doesn’t happen in many places on Earth, including many “Muslim” nations. Try being Shia in SA or Pakistan, or Sufi in SA. Just off the top of my head.

    I am proud to have been born and raised in this country and know that the vast majority of Christians/Jews are not Islamophobes and genuinely want to learn about our faith. It is a great opportunity indeed

  • ahmed

    @ Safak Ozgun

    Salam

    Im born in Pakistan and people wrongly think there that the USA is fully Islamophobic(not my friends etc.)I think its because of the frustrations of a 3rd World and war torn nation.

    Ive been to the UAE and that country is also full of religious freedom.

  • Safak Ozgun

    Applause!

    “If I were living in a Muslim-majority country, I might think the United States is filled with people burning the Quran, demonizing Islamic beliefs and tarring all Muslims as supporters of radicalism and terrorism.”

    Unfortunately that may be true in some countries. When I visited Pakistan, the people there told me that most Pakistanis hated the US because of the drone attacks and their unconditional support for Israel. But in Dubai, where I live, people are suspicious and distrusting of the US government and policies, but not about its people. Americans, actually Westerners in general, in the UAE are highly respected. I’ve had the privelage of having many Americans here as friends, and all were awesome people. They loved being in the UAE as well, except for the weather…

  • mindy1

    People of all faiths uniting against hate :D that is what will bring about world peace

  • Nur Alia

    opps…fat fingers pressed the ‘enter’ button before time.

    I like this webpage because the bloggers dont actually commeent on the rhetoric as defending why it should not be written, but point by point, it shows it false.

    I have learned alot from this site, and on thing is not to fall into letting anti Islamics form and control the narrative about Islam.

  • Nur Alia

    Good this is.

    I am glad too that people, dispite the hate and anti Islam propaganda, people are wanting to know about Islam and read the Qur’an.

    This hate and fear mongering may be helping us with daw’ah, if we are equipped to answer people’s concerns about Islam.

    What I see at least in the blogs and comments, is Muslims defending the lies and answering the negative rhetoric, rather than simply telling the truth. Muslims have to gain control of the conversation about Islam, rather than letting those who hate Islam lead the narrative.

    Acts like this, churches reading from the Qur’an are helping to simply tell the truth.

  • corey

    dialogue between the two faiths hatemongers biggest weakness

  • Sam Seed

    It’s good to hear this kind of news, don’t see it often and it’s a refreshing change to the usual hatred through ignorance. Well put together Tad Stahnke!

  • Ustadh

    A good article, America is not a nation of Quran burners but of religious diversity.

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