Peacemaking Trends Among Evangelicals and Muslims - Part 2
by Rick Love
I had the privilege of attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. in 2005, where King Abdullah of Jordan forcefully spoke out against terrorism. The media complains that Muslims don’t speak out against terrorism, but here it was. Loud and clear.
This was part of Jordan’s commitment to peacemaking reflected in the Amman Message and the Common Word, under the leadership of HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad. These two global efforts, initiated by Muslims, aim at mending relations between Muslims and Christians. Other Muslim countries are building bridges as well. Qatar hosts the annual Doha Interfaith Conference, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia promotes interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance – unheard-of prior to 9/11.
This same dynamic is happening in the U.S. among Muslim organizations. Through the hard work of my friend, Abdel Azim Elsiddig, I, along with a number of evangelical leaders, was able to speak at the MAS-ICNA (Muslim Association of Students-Islamic Circle of North America) conference in Chicago in 2010. Sayyid Syeed, the National Director of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), deserves special recognition for his peacemaking vision and activities.
Eboo Patel is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. Patel and the IFYC believe that religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. Patel was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009. He is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and CNN. He is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The Salam Institute is an important Muslim peacemaking organization. Led by Mohammad Abu-Nimer (see the references to his books below), Salam is a nonprofit organization for research, education, and practice on issues related to conflict resolution, nonviolence, human rights and development with a focus on bridging differences between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Najeeba Syeed-Miller is another noteworthy peacemaker. As professor of interreligious education at the Claremont School of Theology, Najeeba engages in interfaith dialogue, blogs, writes, and speaks on conflict resolution. Her research and community activist efforts have focused on the role of women as agents of peacemaking.
I have the privilege of working closely with three Muslim peacemakers in Arizona: Imam Ahmad Shqeirat, Sheikh Mahmoud Sulaiman and Usama Shami. Peace Catalyst International presented the Peacemaking Imam award to Imam Ahmad for his faithfulness in civic engagement, passion for his faith, and his trusted position at the forefront of interfaith dialogues.
Ahmad, Mahmoud and Usama were involved in the formation of the Seven Resolutions Against Prejudice, Hatred and Discrimination, a statement made by Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious leaders of the greater Phoenix area. Mahmoud and Usama worked with us to put on a peace walk and a Multi-faith service: Remembering 9/11, Turning Towards Peace.
I also had the joy of speaking to Peace Generation, a peacemaking organization based in Indonesia. Peace Generation is led by Irfan Amalee and Erik Lincoln. Peace Generation has been focused on formulating fun and interactive education materials for peace education among youth and children. Currently, Peace Generation materials have been used to train more than 500 teachers from more than 10 provinces in Indonesia and have been implemented by more than 15,000 students.
In addition, I have had the privilege of working with Samir Kreidie and Dr. Safi Kaskas, especially through the National Prayer Breakfast. Safi is President of Strategic Edge Management Consultants and has recently been appointed as the new President of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists of North America. Samir is managing director of the Rabya Trading & Agriculture Company and founder of the Inma Foundation, which helps provide humanitarian support to impoverished people in Lebanon. Samir is described as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.
Important books and articles on peacemaking from a Muslim perspective
A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor. Edited by Miroslav Volf, Ghazi bin Muhammad and Melissa Yarrington.
Cresent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam. Edited by Qamar-Ul Huda
Peace-Building By, Between and Beyond Muslims and Evangelical Christians. Edited by Mohammad Abu-Nimer and David Augsburger
Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam: Theory and Practice by Mohammad Abu-Nimer
Muslims are reaching out to Christians and seeking peace! You may not hear this on your favorite news channel, but it is true. And followers of Jesus must respond. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
I would love to hear from you about other Muslim organizations or Individuals you think I should have mentioned! Which ones did I leave out?