We, as Christian theologians in the public sphere, stand together in solidarity with Muslims in the United States in support of all Muslim citizens and residents of the United States. We do so not despite our deep Christian faith, but precisely because of it.
Recent statements in the wake of the horrific actions of violence in Paris and San Bernardino have once again raised the threshold of acceptable actions in this country. We reject and abhor any and all statements or actions that respond to these acts of violence with indiscriminate fear, suspicion, and hatred against our Muslim sisters and brothers.
We unequivocally oppose all acts of violence against Muslim places of worship. We oppose all acts of violence–verbal, physical, or otherwise– targeting Muslims. We oppose all acts of violence against people perceived to be Muslim. We oppose all attempts to establish any sort of religious test for citizenship or immigration status. We oppose all attempts to deny the fact that Muslims have been present in the Americas since the 16th century, living as enslaved people, soldiers, politicians, leaders, sports heroes, rockstars, and faithful citizens.
As December is a time of holy preparation for Christ Who Redeems not through violence or fear, but through love, sacrifice, and hope, let us who are Christians to be mindful of our neighbors in a special way this season. Let us affirm our Muslim neighbors, who live in fear of the hateful stranger in a way that many of us will never know. Let us affirm and support those who have accepted Syrian refugees, even against the wishes of state authorities. Let us affirm and support those who offer mercy, love, and support for those who flee persecution around the world.
We will not allow fear to define our Christianity, to define our vision of Christ. And, in the spirit of Pope Francis, we will not allow violence to be the only answer to a world crying out for mercy.
We invite others to re-post this statement on their own blogs, to stand together in solidarity, both in person and in word around the internet.
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In all of the affirmation of and support for Muslims, is there left the possibility of asking serious questions about the relationship between Muslims and the rest of the world? That is, can one raise the possibility that all of the atrocities committed by Muslim terrorists may actually have something to do with Islam itself? Or does merely asking the question automatically put the questioner outside the pale of civilized discussion?
It would seem the truth lies somewhere between “everything Islamic is evil” and “Islam is a religion of peace.” However strongly one may oppose the improper treatment of Muslims, it is equally important to allow for a proper discussion of Islam, which may in fact include pointed questions. Assuming that all Muslims are potential terrorists is no more closed minded than assuming no true Muslim could be one.