a statement from the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
adopted by the Board of Directors September 10, 2010
In the name of the Prince of Peace, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America urges people of faith to support our Muslim brothers and sisters in this time of increased “Islamophobia” and anti-Muslim behavior. We are dismayed by actions such as calling for the burning of holy books; the protesting of building of Muslim community centers and mosques, not just in New York City but in many areas around the world; and direct attacks on Muslim people. We say that those who use Christianity to persecute and prejudge Muslim people do not speak for the vast majority of peace-loving Christians. We urge our peace and justice loving partners to resist the disease of Islamophobia. This leads us farther away from the peace we all seek.
There are better ways to address conflict. Even amidst the current wave of hate-filled hysteria, the possibility of positive change exists if people of good will take action. And so we urge our members, our congregations, and our friends to use this opportunity to act in ways that will create healing, mutual understanding and cooperation.
Speak up often in as many places as you can. But more than that, act locally to create and deepen relationships among people of different faiths. The possibilities for action are endless. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
What can you do?
- Join with local interfaith groups to publicly voice their support for people of all faiths.
- Host interfaith worship services with potluck meals afterwards, encouraging attendees to bring dishes representing their ethnic and religious heritage.
- Attend support rallies – holding a banner identifying yourselves as members of a Baptist church.
- Invite local Muslim leaders to speak.
- Create youth mission events in partnership with a nearby mosque.
- Host a viewing and discussion of the Baptist Center for Ethic’s excellent documentary “Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims." – visit www.ethicsdaily.com to learn more and to order a copy.