Sessions like these usually feature a smiling, soft-spoken local imam, but this one seems to be conducted solely by an academic who appears to be non-Muslim. Nonetheless, whenever people start talking about “misconceptions” of Islam in contexts like this, they mean, “You see Islamic jihadists justifying violence and terror by referring to Islamic texts and teachings, but don’t believe your lying eyes. Believe me when I tell you that Islam teaches peace and those jihadists are misunderstanders of Islam. Only racists and bigots think there is a jihad threat, or that counter-terror operations are needed.”
However, the worst part of this is that no mention is made whatsoever of the Muslim persecution of Christians, which is one of those “world events” that “play out around the globe” that make people want to know about Islam in the first place. But we know that there are many Christians who think it best not to speak about such matters, and abandon Christians in Muslim countries to their fate: “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.” — Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013
“Church Dialogue on Islam,” from CBS2/Fox28, January 12 (thanks to Maxwell):
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) — While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity.
“Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you”re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley.
Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population.
But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.
Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion.
“That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions.
“We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.
Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present.
“The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough.
“Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley.
“I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Future Tour of Islam Talks
January 19th — 9:15 am — Tenets and practices of Muslims
January 26th 9:15 am — Sharia or Islamic Law
January 26th 12:00 pm — The Egyptian Revolution of 2011, Then and Now