Muslim Solidarity

While it’s true that actions speak louder than words, words matter, too, and at this year’s MidAmerica Regional Assembly, we passed a resolution of Muslim solidarity.

As UU’s, we have a lot of theological differences with Muslims. Our practices are very different from theirs. On the other hand, we are the “Standing on the Side of Love” people. We know how to love alike while we think differently. We value the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

But actions speak louder, right? So here are the actions urged by the resolution:

  • build bridges of partnership with Muslim neighbors in our local areas;
  • increase understanding of Islam within and beyond our local congregations;
  • learn more about the realities of religious discrimination and the Syrian refugee crisis; and
  • work to foster greater inclusion of all peoples, regardless of their religious, ethnic,

national, or racial identity(s).

What better time to focus on such actions than Ramadan, which happens this month? During the service on June 5, our theme will be “What Ramadan Has to Teach Us.” Learning more about Islam will help us share our understandings of Islam. And that is crucial for today’s world.

General David Petraeus recently wrote a column in the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-petraeus-anti-muslim-bigotry-aids-islamist-terrorists/2016/05/12/5ab50740-16aa-11e6-924d-838753295f9a_story.html, that spelled out the risks of bigotry against Muslims. He called anti-Muslim rhetoric “toxic and, indeed, non-biodegradable – a kind of poison that, once released into our body politic, is not easily expunged.” The Muslims who do preach and practice terrorism encourage the idea that there is an inevitable conflict between Western and Islamic cultures. When Western politicians embrace that idea of culture clash, they fuel Islamic terrorism. What’s more, Muslims are needed allies in opposing terrorism around the world, not to mention in ferreting out radicalization both here at home and in Europe. That’s Petraeus’ view.

My own take is based more in my UU-inspired theology of love. Hating, fearing, and insulting people is against my religion. It’s that simple. If I am to avoid that hate, fear and insult, I have no choice but to learn something about others so that I can treat them according to the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” I hope we can take it the next step and find ways to implement the resolution I voted for at the Regional Assembly.

In faith and freedom,

Jonalu

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