There aren’t very many Muslims in Texas. Not that I’ve crossed paths with, anyways.
What I know about Muslims comes mostly from the media, and they’ve gotten a pretty bad rap in the last couple of years. Burkas, beards and turbans. That’s the image that pops into my head. But that’s really not the whole picture at all.
I’m taking a class called The Cross and the Crescent, and the goal is to look at Islam in light of Christianity.
Sometimes it’s great realizing how much you don’t know– great in an embarrassing kind of way.
Rather than the differences between Christianity and Islam, it’s the similarities that stick out to me.
Don’t get me wrong. There definitely are differences. But right now they’re not as big to me as the similarities. Like how highly Muslims regard Jesus. The Gospels are incredibly respected and frequently closely followed sometimes in a greater capacity that many Christians, including myself, are capable of.
What has been repeated numerous times is how ashamed and horrified Muslims are of the acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam. It always reminds me of the Westboro Baptist Church or Terry Jones.
At one of the mosques we visited, a Muslim said they had invited Terry Jones, the preacher who burned the Quran, on a radio show the mosque broadcasts. On the show, Terry Jones professed he was an expert on Islam. The Muslim interviewing him responded with the question “Have you read the Quran?” to which Jones replied no.
This blatant hatred in the face of ignorance is pretty sickening to me. I imagine a good deal of the Muslim world feels even more revolted about al-Qaeda.
Sometimes looking at different religions strengthens your own faith. Sometimes it leads you down different paths. There was a guy from a Muslim background, Mazhar Mallouhi, who is a big deal Arab author. This man became a disciple of Christ because of Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu who was deeply influenced by Jesus.
Though the high-profile Muslims we see in the news might demonstrate a different kind of religion, at its heart Islam is a beautiful faith that emphasizes good deeds, love and following God’s will.
The word islam means submission to the will of God, and a muslim (with a lowercase ‘m’) is one who submits. So maybe, we should try to be more of a muslim.
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