May 23, 2024

A friend of mine was telling me about an encounter he had with a Muslim. It was the first time he had met a Muslim and said he was surprised at her openness and friendliness. It certainly doesn’t surprise me.

In this day and age, stories of terrorist attacks, bombings and complex international politics seem to widen the already gaping divide between humans of different cultures and religions. It’s easy to forget that just like in Christianity, there are conservatives and liberals in Islam. There are kind Muslims and there are rude Muslims. Muslims, too, disagree on doctrine and interpretation of their scriptures.

It is easy to forget the humanity that binds us all together in the midst of all the fear permeating our society. It is easy to forget that human dignity is something not earned but innate within us. It is easy to forget that even those who are different may share more similarities than differences.

One of my best friends from high school is Muslim. Sure, we would argue about religion and the flaws we saw in each other’s religion. We would also laugh about boys and go shopping and talk about tragedies that moved our hearts. We were so different yet we had the same fundamental desires. These desires are what make us human. We respected each other. That respect bound our friendship together.

It is a tragedy to think of all the miscommunication and misconceptions that are created because of a lack of understanding. The hatred people can possess for those they have never even met is even more terrifying. Hatred is strong, but love is certainly stronger.

As Christians, we have a love that is more powerful than any other. This is a love that has overcome death — can it not overcome all that comes between us and other human beings?

Can we get past this culture of fear and ignorance? Can we be more compassionate? Can we see those Muslims as our neighbors and friends?

We can. It starts with you and me.

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