Between a Pope such as this one and the current we-couldn’t-care-less
Saudi monarchs – the self-proclaimed ‘Khâdim ül Haramain ish Sharifain’
(Servant of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina) – for the Muslim refugees in
Europe it could be a difficult choice to make....
In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric,
appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeera satellite television to confirm
that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. “In every
hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity,” Al Qataani warned. “Every day,
16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert
What pains me, and other liberal Muslims around the world, to see is the
unending all-weather friendship between the proponents of this extreme ideology
and the pluralistic western governments, the self-proclaimed ‘guardians of
freedom’, to the detriment of the entire moderate Muslim world. How do you
square that circle?...
As we grew up underneath the layers of systemically taught hate, my
Muslim friends and I began to find common ground, and developed a better
understanding of each other. I would sneak them into our temples so they could
get a glimpse of my world, and accompany them to Mughal era mosques to get a
sense of theirs...
At a time such as ours, when hate in the name of religion is having such
horrific consequences, knowing, understanding and befriending the “other” is
the only way for peace. Only then can the harmony of hearts happen. And in this
quest, every single one of us has a very important and unique role to play.
Making just one friend, or even just one good acquaintance, from another faith
community can be our way of making a great difference to our badly-fractured
A theological argument has also been advanced, that these existing laws
are God-given and, therefore, cannot be tampered with. The rationality of such
an argument, and of the persons who advance them, does not deserve any serious
attention in this day and age. This is the same logic that wants us to suspend
reason and believe that a particular god was born at a particular spot just
because it is commonly believed to be so?...
If people were to understand that God is One, they would seek to please
Him by praying to Him and serving His creatures. By fighting in His name, you
are definitely not going to please Him. God is pleased when you accept others,
including people of other faiths, with a pure and loving heart. We are meant to
love each other. ...
In a globalised world, the pace and intensity of intermixing of
cultures, languages, traditions, attire, cuisine just cannot be stopped. These
can only be rationalised. It indicates how necessary it is to learn from the
past and let everyone realise that in these times of ever-increasing mobility
and inter-cultural interactivity, how important it is to respect ‘otherness’;
be it of region, language, religion or socio-cultural practices....
Among his admirers were both Hindus and Muslims. His association with
two cultural personalities, scholar Kangal Harinath and writer Mir Mosharraf
Hossain, helped him reach out to a larger world....
The history of Nablus’ mosques is a microcosm of the history of the
city, which has been associated with many religious faiths. Many of the places
have been linked also to the names of different prophets, which binds the
communities of the city to preserve them in honour of those prophets....
"A lot of people think Islamophobia is simply another phase of
discrimination," he said. "But is it merely another rite of passage
of immigrants from other lands who take their lumps for awhile and then find
acceptance through social integration? Are we simply another version of Irish
in early 20th century, or Jews in late 19th century, or even Catholics of 75-80
Tragically, in the past, and certainly today extremists can be found in
any faith. These are those who have lost their way and believe they are little
gods — belittling, exploiting and harming others. For William and me, the
essence of our faith is worshiping the one true God wholeheartedly and loving
But my faith transcends the religions I was taught. Without Islam, I may
never have known God, and without Catholicism, I may have never grown to love
Him. One can never know nor love God completely—and so I shall continue to
Michel Ayoub's holy racket begins each day at 2am, when he steps into
the cobbled streets of Acre's old city with tambourine in hand, awakening
Muslims for Ramadan. His role as the city's "Mesaharati" is a
traditional one during the sacred fasting month, but Ayoub is by no means a
traditional holder of the position: He is Christian....
Whether we are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or of any other religion that
looks to sacred books for guidance and inspiration from God, we can look
deeper, with a more spiritual eye at our holy texts. We can find there marching
orders, not to go to war against our fellow human beings, but to go to war
against human greed, oppression, and injustice in all of its forms....
I listen to him and explain that not everything in the Christian faith
was written down verbally and literally in the Bible. While the Quran for a
Muslim is the exact word of God—in Arabic—for a Christian, the Bible was
written by humans under inspiration from God....
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
In an age of extremes, it is easy to be an extremist. The real religious
hero is the one who takes the road less travelled, showing that faith heals,
not harms. That is what Islam did in the great age of Al Andalusia and La
Convivencia in Spain, and it won the admiration of the world. Who will do it
Love God and love your fellow human beings. Live by the truth, live with
compassion. Do not do what is evil and say what is false, but follow God’s
commandments and engage in good deeds of useful service for others Anyone who
reads the scriptures of Islam or of Christianity with love for God and love for
fellow human beings at heart will find these things taught there in many ways,
and through many examples...
“2-in-1” is an apt metaphor for the way in which I now relate to the
fact of religious plurality. It wasn’t always this way, though. Over the years, I have had the good fortune
of being exposed to many religions. On the way, I went through various phases,
during which I identified with and sought to follow (albeit in a partial and
only semi-serious way) various religions, one after another....
And no matter how many different ways we may hear God’s voice, it is the
same message being given through all the religions of the earth: Love God and
love your fellow human beings. Live by the truth, live with compassion. Do not
do what is evil and say what is false, but follow God’s commandments and engage
in good deeds of useful service for others...
A garden’s beauty is enhanced by the sheer variety of trees and flowers
that it hosts. In the same way, our lives, at both the personal and the
collective level, can be greatly enriched when people from different
backgrounds—class, ideological, ethnic, religious, national and so on..
Typically, religionists see their religion’s dogmas and rituals as the
core of their religions, believing theirs to be the only, or the best, or the
most suitable and sensible ones. Since the various religions differ in matters
of dogma and ritual, this difference serves as a basis for setting off one
religious community from the others, which, in turn, can be used to foment
supremacism and conflict with others, as has indeed happened through much of human
According to local and British historians, Dara Shikoh had given orders
to build the mausoleum of Mian Mir Shikoh. He was a Mughal prince with Sufi and
mystical inclinations. He strongly believed in social harmony and a peaceful
This requires us to take it upon ourselves to research and learn about
traditions and viewpoints which are practiced and yet foreign to us. It asks
that we see the world in others’ eyes, from time to time. And, like travel,
perhaps experiencing Ramadan as a non-Muslim can be just as rewarding.....
To help overcome Islamophobia and foster mutual respect, acceptance and
understanding, teachers, parents, community leaders and librarians can use
books like these to educate children about Muslims while enhancing religious