A response that involves violent protests, attacks on Christians or their churches, or a counter attack on the Christian faith is un-Islamic and certainly not morally acceptable. I call upon fellow Muslims to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad who responded to those who abused him by forgiving them and assuming that they are doing so because they did not truly know him. He focused on educating those people and showing kindness to them.
The best response to the Pope's inaccurate and divisive remarks is for Muslims and Catholics worldwide to increase dialogue and outreach efforts aimed at building better relations between Christianity and Islam.
We can not continue to live in the shadow of the past conflicts such as Spain or the Crusades. It is time we move forward by learning from the mistakes of the past. It is time we use the positive teachings common in both religions to bring both communities closer. It is time to build mutual trust and understanding. It is time we work together to tackle the serious threats of ignorance, extremism, poverty, rights of immigrants, rights of workers, wars, occupation, racism, and all other social ills.
We should not be pulled into this nonsense clash of civilizations by fueling it with inflammatory comments. It is not acceptbale when a Muslim does it and it is not acceptable when a Christian does it either, especially those in leadership position.
If religious leaders refuse to lead, then it is up to us, the followers, to lead humanity into peace and dialogue. Let's leave a better world for our children.
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html