Follow up to Muslim Community center near Ground Zero

After the most recent post I had some personal communication about my thoughts on Islam.  Below is the basic question asked and then my response.

Have you personally read the Koran yourself?  With Islam are the older expressions okay while the newer expressions are violent and extremist?  Are Christians the enemy?

Personally I have read the Koran, although it has been some time since I have done anything more than read a surah or two.

I would not say that “the old stuff is okay while the newer stuff is violent and extremist.”  I see the difference between a people and a religion.  Does the Koran have some passages that can be interpreted to call for violence?  Yes, that is why the extremists refer back to their holy text.  Do the vast majority of followers of the Koranic ways interpret the book in that light?  No.  That is why we aptly call those who do “extremists.”  While I cannot remember the exact reference, I’ll note that the concept of “terrorism” that is now often equated with “Islam” actually came from outside Islam.  Terrorism in Islam is a recent concept.  

Now, are we Christians the enemies?  I think this statement is a stretch as well.  Our dual-citizenship to the Kingdom of God and the USA is complicated.  The principles Christ lays out in the Sermon on the Mount are eternal, and direct our modus operandi.  No matter whether good/evil is done to us, we are to respond in love.  We forgive unending (phrased 70 times 70); we turn the other check; we love our neighbor and our enemy.

Thanks for the question and continue to dialog and ask questions.  May we above all reflect the character of Jesus.

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2 Responses to “Follow up to Muslim Community center near Ground Zero”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I understand that this blog is about missiology, but the issue is whether or not the mosque should be built at that site or not and you haven’t answered that question. There are a lot of Christians that understand that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists or extremists, but actually promotors of peace, but still think the
    placement of the mosque is bad. Just out of curiosity, what do you think?

    • Adam Hoffman Says:

      I will defend their right to build such a house of dialog and prayer in the city, no matter if I agree with it or not. That said it does not seem like America is ready for it. This place will be just 2 blocks closer than the mosque that is already established, lead by the same guy. The one in question is just new. I personally would wait to build it until some of the Islamaphobia quiets down and people start to realize that Islam does not equal terrorism. I appreciate that there will be a memorial to the victims and condemning the event in the community center. I also like the fact that it is more of a community and house of interfaith dialog. To the burning of Korans I affirm this comment on the Dove Center’s blog: http://www.doveworld.org/blog/ten-reasons-to-burn-a-koran#comment-5215

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