A Bishop and A Rabbi Against Islamophobia

Loving your neighbor, especially in times of fear, accomplishes far more than hateful acts in the creation of the American society in which we all want to live.

When my dear friend, Rabbi Aaron Meyer, and I learned that there would be a known anti-Muslim group organizing a rally to speak about American Muslims and ‘Sharia’ an Arabic word referring to Islamic practices, we knew it was a disguise to promote fear and conspiracy theories about our American Muslim brothers and sisters. Fear is so often anchored in lack of knowledge and always leads to distortion of the truth. The truth is that the vast majority of American Christians and American Jews are decent, law-abiding people who believe in serving their country and caring for their neighbors. The same is true of our American Muslim neighbors.

The American Muslims we know wish to build better futures for their families and children. They uphold the U.S. Constitution and share the same American values that we all cherish. More than 10,000 American Muslims serve in our nation’s armed forces, and many have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I do indeed join my friend, Bishop Kirby Unti, in standing with our American Muslim sisters and brothers against all forms of hate and discrimination. The Jewish people know well the experience of being the targets of hate, creating some of the darkest times in world history. Christian history is also fraught with persecution, requiring adherents and students of our histories to choose a different path.

Bishop Unti and I come from different religious backgrounds but share a common, deep commitment to all children of God. Our most important teachings call upon us to love and welcome our neighbors, and we are deeply rooted in our Jewish and Christian traditions when we stand up to hate in its many forms.

Together we have formed many close friendships with our American Muslim sisters and brothers. We meet together, we pray together, we break bread together, and we encourage you to do the same. There are close to 55 mosques across Washington State. All mosques welcome visitors and are open to people of all faiths. On weeknights you can drop in to most mosques as programming is taking place, and on Sundays you will discover many parents waiting while their kids are in Sunday School. Take these opportunities to meet your Muslim neighbors. You will not be disappointed and will find that friendship is a powerful force in ending this ignorance-bred fear.

The Pacific Northwest, our shared home, is one of the world’s most beautiful places, featuring a rich and diverse ecosystem from mountains to sea. Every part of the creation is joined with and dependent upon on every other part. The same holds true for our diverse American family. Human existence, life itself, is at its best when we know and love our neighbors as ourselves and live together in peace.

Please join us by standing on the side of love, a force more powerful than fear.

Bishop Kirby Unti serves the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Northwest Synod.
Rabbi Aaron Meyer serves Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of an individual and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Faith Action Network. FAN is an interfaith organization, committed to celebrating and embracing the diversity of faith traditions. If you have questions about FAN’s position on any public policy issues, please feel free to contact the FAN office at (206) 625-9790 or [email protected].
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