I do not normally use such divisive language in my writing, but I have found it necessary to once and for all make clear that Muslims are not the problem. In fact, though it might surprise some, there is not one person or group to blame for the quandary in the Middle East. The two wars currently underway in the Middle East have occurred, and still occur, across two Presidencies, both Republican and Democrat. Largely political extremists that utilize the rhetoric of religion and faith to inspire movements perpetrate the terrorist activities in the Middle East.
It is not the Islamic faith that calls for such actions.
Many, however, would have you think otherwise. In the end, their game is about capitalizing upon the “Truth” and what is the “right” way of thinking. Yet as our globalized age progresses we are finding that such talk is simply not fruitful, but moreover, it is destructive. If my Christian siblings that have such vehement disdain for my Muslim siblings would read the Qur’an they might find that Jesus is actually held in a remarkably high position. If they read the Holy Book written by the Prophet Muhammad, they would find a message of Peace.
Growing up I heard much about the strivings toward the Kingdom of God. For many it was a “spiritualized” place that included “streets of gold.” To quote a mentor, “If Heaven’s streets are paved with gold, I don’t want it. After all, everyone would steal all the gold! There’d be no streets!” The point is that the Kingdom of God is not a place, but a reality that we must make present here.
That Kingdom includes Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, and every person that has been decreed loved by God. To put it simply: humanity.
The Christian message for me retains evocative power, and one of the reasons I still bear the title “Christian” is the message of love that Jesus brought. My life is a striving toward the “de imitatione Christi” – the image of Christ. That means that the Kingdom of God is not exclusive, but inclusive not only of all Christians, but all people – even Muslims. Some may find it hard to believe, or rail against the fact that I hold the Christian narrative as the most compelling narrative and still embrace Muslims. To that I ask them to pray: “Lord help my unbelief.”
I cannot carry out the message of Jesus, I cannot profess to be a Christian, and not be in fellowship with my Muslim siblings. If there is any “Truth” to be capitalized upon in my faith it is this: the message of Jesus’ love transcends belief, and calls us forth into fellowship with people of all faiths for the Kingdom of God. Or, as my Jewish siblings say, “Tikkun Olam.” That is, “Repairing the Broken World.”