I give thanks to God that I have been involved with Salaam Project for two years now. Salaam Project is a multi-agency initiative by the CRC to equip the church to engage with Muslims. I wrote one of my first presentations to help people in our churches reach out to Muslims with the Gospel in an effective way. However, almost right from the start people told me that they needed more basic information about Islam because they did not have a basic understanding of what Muslims actually believe or practice. They just were not ready to actually engage with their Muslim neighbor. When I asked people in seminars if they had ever read even a little of the Quran, or if they had ever heard of the Hadith, very few hands went up. So I began to teach more about Islam.
This has had a number of benefits as people tend to fear what they do not know. Knowledge reduces fear and allows people to take a step of faith and engage the stranger in their midst. In Leviticus 19 the people of Israel are commanded to love their neighbors. Then later in the chapter they are commanded to love the alien living among them as one who is native born (verse 33). As followers of Jesus it continues to be important to understand those who now live among us and to love them. The challenge in an increasingly pluralistic society is to interact with people of other faiths in a respectful and honest way.
The November 20 webinar "Learning to Love Muslims" will give a basic introduction to the religion of Islam in order to create an ethos of love for our Muslims neighbors. For more details and registration visit crcna.org/webinars
What questions do you have about Islam and loving your Muslim neighbor?