Pursuing Peace Through Social Media

  125 views

I have noticed lately that many people are posting anti-Muslim news items as a result of our current conflict with ISIS. I think this needs a response. Rather than using social media to increase anti-Muslim sentiment and fear, why not use it to promote peace?

While face to face relationships are always the best environment for conflict resolution and peace-building, social media is a reality in our current world and can also be used for peace-building efforts. So here are six reasons why spreading anti-Muslim messages is not helpful.

  1. ISIS is a violent aberration of Islam and needs to be stopped. Persecution of religious minorities in Syria and Iraq should be a great concern and protecting the rights of religious minorities is our priority. It is better to focus on these specific problems than to condemn all Muslims.
  2. Spreading articles that condemn the religion of Islam is disrespectful of the diversity within Islam. Not all Muslims are represented by ISIS. Islam is very diverse. Malala, the recent Nobel Peace Prize recipient, is a Muslim. Therefore generalizations are not helpful.
  3. Anti-Muslim posts place Muslims in the category of “other” and reduce the opportunity to dialogue and build trust. Any initiative that inhibits relationships undermines efforts to build peace between communities.
  4. Focusing immediately on the differences prevents opportunities to find commonalities and build relationships. While acknowledging deep seated differences is a reality in inter-faith dialogue, building on commonalities and being stretched to understand the religious experience of the other is important in our increasingly pluralistic world.
  5. The Bible calls us to respect our neighbor and extend hospitality to him or her. Part of this is listening to our Muslim friends about their experience and allowing them to share with us. We then have opportunities to witness to our faith through our words and actions.
  6. Rather than forward posts that condemn Muslims, why not use that time to pray for them – even to pray that ISIS leaders would turn from their evil ways and come to know Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Posted in:
  • Ecumenical & Interfaith
  • Muslim Ministry
  • Blog
Image Credit

Let's Discuss…

We love your comments! Thanks for your help upholding the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Greetings Greg:

   I just read the following headline on the Clarion Project blog:

  • "Canada: Parliament Shooter Was Muslim Convert" that follows the following other headlines:
  • "ISIS Attack in Canada: Inspired by Online Al Qaeda Magazine?" and

  • "America's "Most Influential Muslim" Endorses Sharia Law"

Now you might reply that this is social media that is portraying Islam in a bad light. Is it? Just for information this is a blog that features Muslims as correspondents as well. Here is their by-line: 'CHALLENGING EXTREMISM -- PROMOTING DIALOGUE'

Greg, I think it is time to smell the roses:

a. People are using social media to talk about Islam, because in many politically correct quarters one cannot do so. As well they are expressing fear, rage, anger and frustration. Fear at the fact that many politicians seem paralyzed into inaction, rage at the fact that gross injustices are being done in the name of religion and that so called Christian clerics stand by and sing Kumbuya, anger at the fact that supposedly wiser people seem to have duped them into saying that there is nothing to worry about from Islam, and frustration that hard-fought values of free speech, freedom of expression of religion and freedom to disagree with someone are being eroded away.  Are there those who express these things in inflammatory or incendiary ways that are returning evil for evil? Absolutely. Yet to wish things away under the rubric of peace, is to be either willfully blind, multi-culturally paralyzed, or to love political correctness more than being enraged that one religion on this planet feels that it can squash anyone in its way. [Just for information,  this comes from its core texts and not from some kind of "violent aberration."]

     I do agree that the challenge to separate the "supremacist, war-mongering, ideology of Islam"--to quote a former Muslim--and the eternal destiny of one's Muslim neighbour--who is a fellow human--is no small challenge. In your post above, you frequently conflate the words "Muslim" and "Islam." This is not helpful.

 May I be so bold as to challenge you to use social media to actually speak the truth about Islam instead of coming to its rescue repeatedly? Oh yes, thank you for the challenge to pray for ISIS leaders as well. That is helpful.

Shalom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Builder

Thank you for posting another fine piece on how we can better love our Muslim neighbors, Greg. It is much needed in a culture that spends far too much time demonizing the "other." I have been particularly discouraged by how church prayer lines have been hijacked by false reports. Thank you for being persistent in calling us to be holy as our God is holy. Salaam and shalom, Brother.

© 2014 Christian Reformed Church in North America. All rights reserved.
For website questions or corrections, use the feedback tab at right or contact us.