I have Muslim friends and colleagues whom I have known for many years. I’ve attended interfaith events at their mosque and have come to know other Muslims. I know of their charitable ministries and their civic involvement with Lake County United in efforts to improve our communities.
My Muslim friends and I have discussed our beliefs and what’s important to us in our perspective faiths. I’ve found that we share many similar faith values. I have come to know my Muslim friends as good parents and good citizens who love American democracy and freedom.
So when I hear someone claim that Muslims cannot become good American citizens, or that their ideology forbids them from assimilating to our culture, I know it’s a lie that they are perpetuating. Lies like these are invented by anti-Muslim hate groups with intent to normalize hatred, fear, and discrimination against my friends. They want us to fear that Muslims will “take over” and impose Sharia law on us. If you knew my friends, this would sound ridiculous to you, as it does to me.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you know that racism and religious bigotry are antithetical to His Gospel. But how do we fight against hate? Jesus tells us to lift His light up “on a lampstand”, so that it “gives light to all who are in the house”. I believe that our duty as Christians is to show love and respect for our Muslim neighbors in ways that others can see.
I’d like to see more Christians and churches form relationships with Muslims and mosques in their community. Then we can help the world to see our Muslims friends as we do, and let them know that hateful characterizations of our friends are unacceptable.
We may need to start at the grass roots level. So if you are in Lake County and are concerned, you can email me at: northsuburban.org/contact. Otherwise, please look for the next open mosque event in your area and get to know your Muslim neighbors.