From Fearing Islam to Loving Muslims
Great article by Eboo Patel in his Washington Post segment entitled The Faith Divide. Take a look at it here: From Fearing Islam to Loving Muslims or read below.
Bob Roberts was converted in Afghanistan. That’s a long way from deep East Texas where he grew up. The Afghan Imams who converted him prayed in a different language than the one he was used to. They took him to schools and mosques, spoke to him of God and family, exemplified for him loyalty and honor. For so many years Bob had been afraid of Muslims, but being with these Imams was changing him.
If you ask him, Bob will tell you that they helped him become a better Christian.
Why? Because Bob takes seriously the Christian belief that everyone is made in God’s image, that Jesus calls on his followers to find ways to love your neighbors everywhere, that fearing others is something the Bible expressly forbids.
Bob is a church planter. He is also a school and clinic builder. Both are part of his faith.
This makes perfect sense to me. I view Bob as encouraging others to pray to Jesus (proselytizing), and following Jesus himself (building understanding and serving).
Bob is building a movement within the Evangelical church towards multifaith cooperation. It begins with a different kind of conversation about religion. Instead of asking ‘How is my faith right and your faith wrong?’ It asks, ‘How does your faith inspire you to serve others and what in my faith inspires me to work with you on that?’
Last week, Bob hosted a major event at his church called “The Global Faith Forum”.
http://www.globalfaithforum.org/ I spoke at the Friday night plenary, along with Professor John Esposito from Georgetown, Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia and Ambassador Le Cong Phung of Vietnam.
Prince Turki read the many verses of the Qur’an about Jesus. Professor Esposito warned about not meeting ‘the religious other’ only through the media and only in moments of crisis. A young girl from Vietnam played the opening notes of Amazing Grace on the violin. I talked about the religious intolerance faced by too many Muslim kids, and my fears for my own in this environment of Islamophobia.
Afterwards came an avalanche of hugs from Evangelicals (so many it made me wonder whether hugging was in the Bible.) “For me to be a Christian, I have to stand up for Muslim kids facing intolerance,” one of them told me. Another said, “I covenant with you that I will work for better understanding between our faiths.”
I told him it was my Muslim duty to uphold my side of that covenant. And I wondered, if more Americans were part of events like this, would we not have mass conversions to viewing faith as a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division?
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.