Dear Muslim friend,
As-Salāmu ‘Alaykum. Well, this has turned out to be quite the 9/11 anniversary, hasn’t it?
…From Park51 in NYC (the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”) being made into a hot-button issue…
…to the fringe Christian pastor wanting to hold a nice, heartwarming Qur’an burning…
…to the Manhattan cab driver stabbed for being Muslim…
A time of fear
I can’t remember a time in my life when Americans displayed such fear and hatred for a group of people. (It does seem to run through American history, though. In another time, I might have been placed in an “internment camp” for being half Japanese.)
Take heart! America goes though these convulsions, and eventually remembers her principles of liberty and equality. But on this 9/11, I am not writing as an American. I have a higher allegiance to Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him). Here’s what I know:
- Isa (peace be upon him) — Jesus — loves Muslims.
- I am his disciple.
- A disciple must do what the Master does.
- Therefore, I must also love Muslims.
Fanatics: What do we do with them?
I can’t hold you responsible for the actions of fanatical Islamists. Fanatics appear in every faith, including Christianity. Fanatics put principles over people, betraying the integrity of those principles. Eh, let’s give these fanatics (of any faith) the attention they deserve: let’s ignore them. Let’s rob them of the spotlight they crave, and confound them by living as brothers and sisters.
But even as I write this, I feel challenged to take a further step. Isa (peace be upon him) teaches, “Love your enemies, and pray for [them].” I must not merely love Muslims who are easy to love. I must love the fanatics, of both faiths. How? I have no idea! I guess we need to come back to what Isa (peace be upon him) said: let’s pray for them. Will you join me, and pray that love takes root in these people? (Even if they’re not changed, at least you and I may be.)
Let’s pray not just for the hate-filled leaders, but also for their fear-driven followers… One of Isa’s first disciples, Yohannah, wrote the Injil-Al-Yohannah. He also wrote in a letter, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” So let’s pray that love will drive out their fear.
In that same letter, Yohannah also wrote: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from Allah. Everyone who loves has been born of Allah and knows Allah. Whoever does not love does not know Allah, because Allah is love.”
Peacemakers: The anti-fanatics
I leave you with a final thought from Isa (peace be upon him), and a song from one of his poets of our day. Isa (peace be upon him) teaches, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of Allah.” I don’t know if you’ll like the following song by Kevin Prosch, but I hope you’ll appreciate the passion of his open heart, as he sings,
There’s a cry I have had, that I could love my brother
Not to look at their race, their religion or their color
This song expresses so much of my faith, and my heart.
So let’s share a meal, let’s work together, and let’s see if we can’t figure out how to live into being peacemakers. Let’s set up internal alarms that sound whenever our principles are placed over people — we’ll be anti-fanactics! We’ll screw them with peace. …For me, it’s all part of following the Way of Isa (peace be upon him), and you can help me. Actually, I need your help.
Eid Sa’eed! May the peace of Isa (peace be upon him) also be with you.
This is my contribution to a campaign by Sarah Cunningham, who has called on faith bloggers to offer goodwill on the anniversary of 9/11. What did you think? Please share your thoughts and feelings in the comments.
For additional reflections on 9/11:
- Beyond the Rubble by Sarah Cunningham
- Remembering 9/11 — Nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could by Chad Estes
- Why I Remember 9/11 by Keith Seckel
- A Firefighter Reflects on September 11th by Ed Cyzewski