How would you feel if your pastor stood in the pulpit this past Sunday opened what you believed to be his Bible and then started to read passages completely unfamiliar to you. Then in the midst of the reading you hear him say Allah instead of God and you realize he is reading not from his Bible, but from the Quran.
How would you feel and what would you do?
If this didn’t happen to you yesterday, count yourself fortunate because it did happen to a number people sitting in Christian churches across America.
Social activists involved with Faith Shared, a program of Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First were trying to promote tolerance and respect of Islam and counter opposition to the Muslim faith. So starting with the National Cathedral in Washington DC, at least fifty other churches in 32 states joined in the effort to host readings from the Quran.
The effort is meant to counter what they refer to as ‘anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes’ that have been growing in the
US. By getting prominent national and local churches to read from the Quran and teach their congregations about Islam, the Alliance believes it will help make Christians more knowledgeable and tolerant of Islam.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance said:
“The anti-Muslim rhetoric that has pervaded our national conversation recently has shocked and saddened me. Appreciation for pluralism and respect for religious freedom and other human rights are at the core of our democracy. We believe that demonstrating our commitment to those core American values will help counteract the intensified level of negative stereotypes and anti-Muslim bigotry in our recent public discourse.”
Tad Stahnke of Human Rights First said:
“With Faith Shared, congregations will send a clear message to the world that Americans respect religious differences and reject bigotry and the demonization of Islam or any other religion. This message about the fundamental importance of religious freedom around the world is especially timely as President Obama prepares to reaffirm the United States’ support for democracy in the Middle East starting with a speech later this week.”
Dean Sam Lloyd of the National Cathedral said:…..