Posted by: smstrouse | October 9, 2015

Jesus, Mary & the Qur’an

640x392_80048_246190Are you kidding me?! I just found out that anti-Muslim protests are being planned for today and tomorrow (Oct. 9-10). So-called “patriots” around the country are being encouraged  to find a local mosque and organize a rally. The Council for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR,) the nation’s leading Muslim civil rights group, has issued a warning to all mosques to take safety measures this weekend. The organization (whose name I won’t even use and so give them any more publicity) is calling on protesters to be armed where permitted.

This is so wrong on so many levels. I find it interesting that four of the Facebook pages for these rallies have a Confederate flag as their profile picture. Let’s see, flags, guns, anti-Muslim rhetoric: what could possibly go wrong?

Well, rather than focus only on the craziness into which some people choose to lower themselves, I want to share a positive story of interfaith cooperation. It’s this kind of story that I believe will ultimately go a long way in neutralizing the hateful, ignorant, dangerous activities like those planned for this weekend.

Last week, a group composed of Muslims and Christians came together for a discussion of the role of Jesus in the Qur’an. We’ll start discussing the book, Islam’s Jesus by Zeki Saritoprak, at ouislams_jesusr next gathering, so for openers we looked at the stories about Jesus’ birth in the Gospels and in the Qur’an.

Fatih F. Ates of Pacifica Institute showed a YouTube video of a dramatization of the verses of the Qur’an dealing with the annunciation to Mary and the birth of Jesus. I handed out the texts from Matthew, Luke and John concerning the origins of Jesus. And a lively discussion ensued. The Christians were surprised to learn the high esteem in which both Mary and Jesus are given in Islam (there are more verses about Mary in the Qur’an than in the Gospels). The Muslims were curious about the development of the New Testament, how the stories originated and were transmitted.
Curiosity abounds on both sides and the conversation was thoughtful and respectful. Most of all, we enjoyed each other’s company! And we’re looking forward to getting to know even more about one another. My hope is that even more people will join the group – so many that we have to create more small discussion groups, at least for part of the meeting time. 
What a different way of addressing the diversity of our world from organizing protests at places of worship. Needless to say, there were no flags or guns at our meeting, either. I’m not writing this to brag (well, maybe a little), but to encourage people of faith and goodwill to get involved in something like this – something that contributes to peace in our communities. It’s too easy to just criticize the crazies,  dismiss them and go about our business as usual. More is required.
How are you already involved in peacemaking? How might you find new ways to “be the change you want to see”?




  1. […] Thanks to Rev. Susan Strouse; read more at […]


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