Evangelical Christians and Muslims unite against racism and intolerancee

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SHAFAQNA - Recently, Evangelical Christian and Muslim leaders gathered at Capitol Hill, to debate a very sensitive matter, the one of Muslim immigrants in the USA. More precisely, this gathering took place on July 23, between Bob Roberts Jr., an evangelic pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, and Muslim leaders of All Dulles Area Muslim Society, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.The purpose of the gathering was to reduce the tensions created between the Evangelical Christian church and the Muslim Churches in America and to strengthen their relationships. But the gathering has an even more important purpose, and that is to denounce and contradict the statements released by another Evangelic leader, launched on his public social network account. Those statements were rather sensitive, not reflecting the tolerance and acceptance promoted by the Christian church, which may have detrimental backfires on a society already tried by so much violence.

It all started when Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, a well-known Evangelic leader, said on his Facebook profile that Muslim immigrants should not be permitted to enter the USA anymore. This happened due to a violent shootout in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where five out of seven people shot by a Muslim young man died. Ever since, even the organizations that help relocate religious refugees started facing issues. Not because they were imposed to stop helping Muslims, but because people started to be afraid to accept them. Many volunteers and churches involved in resettling actions regarding religious refugees are frightened by the fact that the Muslims will turn into dangerous terrorist or even install the Shari‘ah law, once they get settled on American land.

Graham’s statement is also not seen very well by World Relief, an organization based in Baltimore, which helps religious refugees to start a new life in America. Since they work mainly with church volunteers, they also faced the fear of some churches to accept Muslim refugees. World Relief mainly takes care of Christian refugees, but they never refused any person in need of help, regardless of their religion or background. Still, they know that by refusing to accept a Muslim refugee, they will also face problems with the Christian ones as well, as it will as well become harder for them to enter the resettling program.

Reactions did not fail to appear, as Bob Roberts Jr. came out to blame the unthoughtful words of Graham. Roberts in known for his previous collaborations with leaders of the Muslim churches in America, for the purpose of supporting other social causes. This time, as well, Roberts was accompanied by leaders of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, in an event organized to mark the community’s condolences towards the families of the victims in the Chattanooga event. The Muslim leaders mentioned that violence were a massive violation of the Muslim laws, since they were performed on the 30th day of Ramadan, a Muslim celebration where tolerance, abstinence, and purity must prime.

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