By Andy Hale
A few years ago, as an experiment, I read un-cited quotes to a theology conversation group from the Christian Bible and the Islamic Quran. I intentionally picked out poetic verses from the Muslim sacred text and the violent passages from the Christian text. There was a pop quiz for the group to identify which text came from which source. You can only imagine the results.
More often than not, Americans and American Evangelicals have a violent image of our Muslim neighbors. Yet, statistically, Muslims in America are more likely to be victims of violence.
In fact, a recent Pew Research study found that the number of assaults against Muslims in the United States rose significantly over the last few years. Additionally, certain types of crimes that damage or destroy property, including vandalism, also have risen. These numbers, however, are still dwarfed by the 296 victims of anti-Muslim intimidation in 2001.
“When a mass shooting occurs or an explosion erupts, I immediately think to myself, ‘Oh, God, let it not be a Muslim,’” said Victor Begg, Muslim author and activist.
The challenging reality is that there is far too much misconception about our Muslim neighbors. We sat down with the author of Our Muslim Neighbors: Achieving the American Dream, an Immigrant’s Memoir, to discuss his ongoing work of creating healthy dialogue and community among Muslim Americans and their neighbors.
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CBF’s podcast shares stories from across the Fellowship and innovative practices of those working to renew God’s world. The vision is to share ideas, stories, and innovations from ministers, authors, and practitioners.
Andy Hale created and hosts the podcast of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy