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The Growing Christian Movement Pushing Back Against Islamophobia

The growing Christian push back against Christianity’s Islamophobes is gaining steam. This has long been a reality that we are now seeing become more visible and strongly represented. This is the type of movement we’ve hoped would emerge for a long time.:

The Growing Christian Movement Pushing Back Against Islamophobia

by Amy Sullivan (The New Republic)

The loudest Christians making waves about Islam for much of this year have not been terribly, well, Christian. There have been the protests against plans to build mosques in places like Tennessee and New Jersey, and arson attacks on mosques in Joplin, Missouri and Toledo, Ohio. The anti-Muslim posters placed in New York City and Washington, DC subway stations by Pamela Geller’s organization. And that crude now-infamous video that sparked riots across the Middle East.

These contentious activities have garnered headlines and defined for many the “Christian” take on Islam in the U.S. And that’s been too much for a growing number of Christian organizations who are fed up with Islamophobia. Just in the past month, four separate campaigns have started to push back against extreme Christian voices and to preach a message of tolerance and love.

Sojourners—the community founded and led by evangelical author and speaker Jim Wallis—responded to subway ads calling Muslims “savages” by purchasing space to post its own posters in the same subway stations. The message is simple: “Love Your Muslim Neighbors.” After the mosque attacks in Joplin and Toledo, Sojourners bought billboards in both communities to broadcast the same message. “It’s only an extremist fringe that would ever attack another religion’s place of worship in this country,” explained Sojourners spokesman Tim King to the Christian Post. “But unless we offer up an alternative voice, it will be the message and acts of extremists that most across the country and the world hear.”

Geller’s subway ads also prompted a response from an interfaith coalition called Shoulder-to-Shoulder. The group worked closely with the United Methodist Women to produce a letter signed by 168 Washington-area clergy and religious organizations calling on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to donate any proceeds from Geller’s ads to charity. It also countered with its own Metro advertisement: “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

Two other religious campaigns are focused on educating Americans—and particularly Christian communities—about Muslims and Islam. On October 11, the Interfaith Alliance led by Baptist minister Welton Gaddy, along with the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center, released a guide called “What is the Truth about American Muslims? Questions and Answers.” The online document addresses topics such as the role of mosques in Muslim life, whether U.S. courts can ever substitute religious law for civil law (spoiler alert: no), and the meaning of Muslim words like “jihad” and “Taqiyya.”

The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which was founded by Rev. Richard Cizik, is also undertaking a massive effort to broaden American perceptions of Islam and challenge stereotypes. The group produced and released an hour-long documentary called “Islam in America: The Christian Truth,” which tells the stories of American Muslims, but also of conservative Christians who have exchanged their fear of Islam for tolerance and understanding. Cizik and his colleagues intended the film to prompt discussion of Islamophobia in Christian communities, and they released it after the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in the hope that churches and other religious communities could discuss honestly their fears and beliefs.

Efforts like these too often go unnoticed or uncovered by journalists because they are earnest and have the goal of bringing people together instead of tearing them apart. That’s a sad commentary on journalism, but also on all of us who react to stories of religious hatred but flip past stories of religious cooperation with a “meh.” Too many of my colleagues also question whether campaigns to promote education or civility are actually representative of American Christians, because these efforts don’t fit the assumptions they have about who American Christians are. At the same time, they rarely ask whether Pamela Geller or Terry Jones of Qur’an-burning infamy represent anyone other than a small pitchfork-wielding band of followers. Until they do, the antics of Geller and Jones will make the front page while the efforts of Christians to push back against them will remain mostly exiled to the religion pages.

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  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    I think simplistic is the key word here . Where is the attempt at understanding ? where are those who listen before coming up with solutions ?
    As much as I prefer democracy over all other known systems of governance, it is ,as Churchill once said ,the least worst system. We see ,in the world ,the manipulation of public opinion through fear , greed and hate ,sowing seeds that lead to death and distruction . The semi literate panicked into a corner by fear . Anti sharia laws instead of housing laws , Fear of Iran instead of healthcare , the take over of the Muslim brotherhood instead of tax reform , war when we should have peace
    For a free world we need truth but all we have is vested opinion again and again .
    The internet which could have been that voice , swamped by the harridans , bigots and the souless 50cent army

    Sir David
    In damp grey Angers , France

  • Crr whether or not you like him

  • @Zain I posted it to show their motivations because the statement he made shows that AQ is not as simple as we thought it is much more complicated and him and OBL , KSM and so many other AQ affiliates have all said that they not attack us because of our freedoms but because of what we do there. This interview is another along those lines whether or not showing why they do what they do. It also shows the history of the group and shows how the Taliban were against the attacks regardless of what you think of him the info he provided is very valuable. Also this seems to corroborate what Scott Atran said about the Taliban not being aware of the attacks and the friction between the Taliban and AQ.

    @Sir David thanks it was a very interesting interview I wish the foreign policy advisers would look at it but I doubt they care because the West’s current foreign policies are continuing down the wrong path and they seems to keep giving simplistic answers like “they hate freedom”

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    Thanks for that I found it very interesting on many levels .

    Sir David

  • Zain

    @ Razainc

    Pakistani newspaper Ummat Int OBL 10 OCT 2001

    Osama stated the Al-Qaidah group had nothing to do with the 11 September attacks on the USA,I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks.

    Who do you believe OBL or Mahfouz Ould al-Walid ?
    OBL is dead and Mahfouz Ould al-Walid is still alive.i wonder why ??

  • Hey Loonwatch this is a very important interview with a former AQ member you should do an article on this

  • @Emperor

    Here’s another example of a devote Christian speaking out against anti Muslim bigotry. You probably remember Alan Noble. Well he just posted this awhile back.

    Citizenship Confusion: Anti-Muslim Rhetoric and Christian Political Institutions

  • mindy1

    It is great to see people countering the hate 😀 -now how to make it commomplace, so that geller and her ilk will look like the fools that they are 😛

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