Christian gratitude for Muslim neighbours ahead of September 11

The blog today has been written by my colleague in the London Committee on Publication Office, Philip Wylie.

In this week of a proposed [mercifully cancelled – editor!] burning of the Holy Qur’an in Florida, I am reminded of a recent meeting of a Faith Forum I belong to.

The meeting was held at a mosque in London, immediately before the breaking of the fast following Ramadan.  Before the celebration we had a prayer in Arabic given by our host, followed by an English translation of it by a young woman who is a primary school teacher.  The teacher/translator went on to say what Ramadan meant to her and how it broadened her relationship with God – as a time of reflection and spiritual renewal.  She was almost sad that the time had come to an end, but said she would endeavour to carry forward her spiritual insights throughout the coming year to enrich her experience of Ramadan in 2011.

Her words made me think deeply and humbly about my own devotions and the amount of time I spend on them on a daily basis.  It was very sobering overall and a reminder to all of us that profess to be Christians of the saying, “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Philip’s comments inspired me to pose a question on Facebook:How about if all of us who call ourselves Christian share a thought, idea or inspiration we have gained from dialogue with our Muslim neighbours?”

Here are some of the replies:

“I served on an interfaith panel this past spring with a Muslim woman, and as we talked afterwards she said it occurred to her that forums like this were so vitally important, because we could never understand our neighbors without first understanding what our neighbors believe.”

“In October, 2001, I was at an international book fair.  A NY distributor, a Muslim, explained that sales of the Qu’ran had skyrocketed.  We talked in full agreement that there is one God and that there is a great need for understanding and love. He gifted me a Qu’ran and I gifted him a copy of Science and Health.”

“I don’t know any Muslims intimately but I once had a Muslim cab driver that I always drove with to my job at a Christian Science nursing facility in California. We were mutually interested in each other’s thoughts and practices. He really resonated with what I shared about Christian Science and loved how engaged and inspired I was with it and I was really moved by his practice and devotion and the sense of peace and kindness and humility he expressed…he had a deep sense of respect and reverence for all things…As far as I can see, the 9/11 attacks represent Islam as little as an American preacher burning Qu’rans represents Christianity.”

“On a flight to Turkey last year, I left my seat to stand in line for the rest room. A young Muslim woman in a head scarf was ahead of me, but when the facilities became available, she insisted I go ahead of her, and I learned my first lesson in Islamic hospitality. Later on the same flight, we had to fill out custom forms, and she didn’t have a pen. How naturally she came to me and my husband and asked if she could borrow ours. We were so glad to be able to return a favor – “Love is reflected in love“, as another loving, international-thinking woman, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote.”

“A Muslim, that I treated in my Christian Science practice, told me that she had been praying “the 99 names for God.”  In order to help her, I looked them up on the internet. I asked her to see that we don’t merely memorise them, but to express all of God’s qualities.  People of other faiths, or no faith, could benefit from reviewing the “99 names” and discovering how many of them they are expressing, and how much we and the Muslims have in common.”

And one friend shared an article she has had published on this very topic, called A World Without Borders:

PLEASE ADD SIMILAR ENCOUNTERS OF YOUR OWN IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!

From the Bible: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)

From “The New Century” by Mary Baker Eddy: ‘Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower: Love hath one race, one realm, one power.”

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Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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3 Comments on “Christian gratitude for Muslim neighbours ahead of September 11”

  1. Patricia
    September 11, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    Last night after this rousing discussion unfolded on Facebook, I thought to myself, ‘I would really love to be more involved in interfaith support and I’d really love to get to know someone Muslim.’ I realized that I had met Muslims and had discussions in the midst of doing something else, but didn’t know any personally. Well, today as I was walking through my neighborhood I saw a couple by a fountain in the park; one posing for and one taking a picture. They were both dressed so beautifully I thought they should be on the picture together. After a few pics, they stepped down from the fountain and greeted me more warmly than I think I’ve ever been on the street by ‘strangers’! We introduced ourselves and they explained that they were celebrating the end of Ramadan….they were absolutely radiant! Our talk turned quickly to spiritual things; about God and man, and spirtual practice. They shared about Islam and I shared about Christian Science and my experiences….we had different points of view on certain things but there was a totallly pure spirit of inspiration love and sharing…joyous sincerity! We talked about the ‘seed within itself’ and we went back and forth filling in the image…it was the same one! None of us had eaten since early in the day, so they invited me up for dinner and as we sat down and ate this wonderful meal together sharing our thoughts and our hearts with eachother, I felt I’d always known them! One of the insights I loved that Arif explained to me (that felt very familiar from my own practice) was that much of the spiritual things one does are for one’s self…but that fasting was for God. He described fasting as being a time where every thought, every breath is of God and to God…his explanation about purity was definitely no ritualism! So! I made some new friends and they invited my husband and I over for dinner in the near future….’Desire IS prayer’! And the results are wonderful!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. “Persecution is the weakness of tyrants engendered by their fear, and love will cast it out…! | "Oh, Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" - February 4, 2011

    […] (Just before September 11 this year we compiled a blog called Christian gratitude for Muslim neighbours ahead of September 11.) […]

  2. Persecution is the weakness of tyrants engendered by their fear, and love will cast it out…..! | Media and Christian Science in Queensland - February 8, 2011

    […] (Just before September 11 this year we compiled a blog called Christian gratitude for Muslim neighbours ahead of September 11) […]

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