Islam on Capitol Hill


There are an estimated 6 to 7 million Muslims currently living in the United States. Nearly 50,000 of them are expected to gather on Capitol Hill today for a prayer rally in Washington DC. According to event organizers the purpose of the day of prayer is to “pray for peace and understanding between America and its Muslim community.”

As one might imagine the reactions have been mixed and sometimes heated. Many emailers and bloggers have been furious, citing the 9/11 attacks and expressing other anti-Islamic sentiments. Others have embraced the Muslim community’s demonstration as a patriotic gesture, similar to the Promise Keepers event on Capitol Hill in 1997.

How do you feel about it? When the evening news shows crowds of Muslim worshippers will feelings of fear come to the surface? Do you see this as a threat? Or do you see this as people of a different faith merely praying for their government the way we Christians are encouraged to do in 1 Timothy?

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10 thoughts on “Islam on Capitol Hill

  1. my initial reaction to the photo is that it is interesting they appear to be bowing in the direction of the capitol, as if that were their god.

    i’m becoming more sensitive to idolatry in the U.S.A., so i am finding seeing crowds of people celebrating pretty much anything but Jesus sad (huge sporting or entertainment events, mass public demonstrations, shopping malls, etc) (sure sure, normal caveats about how people can do those things and not be idolatrous, but we probably oversell ourselves and underrate how twisted our hearts are there, another discussion.)

    the thing that surprises me is how people don’t seem to mind that The Mall is dedicated to other idols of lusts (knowledge, control, influence, fame, fortune, identity, recognition) all the other days of the year.

    my other concern is that i tend to love to focus on everyone else’s idols and how they should repent from them to the Living God. i tend to minimize or ignore my own idols; bad choice.

    i see these muslims and i am sad, for them, and for my own condition. i need to repent from my lusts and idols; repent from their lies and the unbelief in their “promises”, and turn to the One True God who died to set me free to approach the Throne with boldness and love.

  2. Just as an FYI … The above photo is not real. To have relevant image at the top I crudely combined this photo:

    With this one:

    Though I did spend a few moments noticing how similar the mosque and the Capitol Building are in appearance. Maybe it speaks more to your point about idolatry. 😉

    I imagine they’ll be praying facing Mecca. Which may or may not be the same direction at the Capitol Building. I don’t know.

  3. i think the intentions for those attending are to say “hey! look! we’re not going to blow you up!”, which is needed in our society, b/c the stereotype is very evident. i think it’s obvious that the majority of people in our nation view islam as a threat to national security. which is akin to viewing christianity as a right wing worldview b/c of the religious right. the ignorance about islam is varied, from thinking sihks with turbans are muslim or that all arabs are muslims or not being aware that islam thrives more outside the middle east then within it (central asia, south asia, indonesia – which is the “most muslim” nation on earth, and europe, which is a huuuuuge issue in europe right now).

    idk if this is a “let’s pray for the govt” thing or more of a “we’re normal, too” demonstration. i’d say it’s likely the latter.

  4. looking at a map it looks like if they were standing on the lawn of the capitol building, in order to bow and face mecca they would indeed also be facing and bowing like they are in the picture.

  5. And it’s interesting that the Washington Post and other websites: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/ estimate there were only 3,000 showing up. We need to treat the Muslims and others with the love of Christ…it is a great opportunity to share with them how much God loves them as a lot of people did today. I suggest reviewing the story at the link above. Awesome stuff.

  6. Whenever an event is planned to take place on Capitol Hill the very first thing those in opposition do to try to marginalize the significane of that event is downplay the numbers. We’ve seen it recently with the Tea Party demonstrations – those on the right claim huge numbers, those on the left claim the crowds were small. See also: The Million Man March, Promise Keepers, etc.

    I’ve seen everything from 2,000 (bloggers) to 8,000 (FOX) on conservative websites and the basic sentiment appears to be “look at those Muslims and their pathetic turnout.” “Promise Keepers got way more than that.” It’s like some sort of religious pissing contest or something.

    Which is sad. Because it misses the point completely. This wasn’t about who has the biggest/best religion. This wasn’t about Islam “taking over of our country.” (I read plenty of those types of comments this week.) Etc. It was about promoting understanding between cultures and religions. About Islam’s place in America – which has already opened its arms to both Protestants and Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Buddists, Seikhs, Animists, Atheists and Red Sox fans.

    I agree. It’s a great opportunity to talk about Jesus to Muslims. If we can have an open and sane dialog, I am – of course – all for it. But those who showed up just to protest their right (as Americans) to assemble and pray are not only un-American, they’re … well … pretty bigoted.

  7. Please allow me a second to dial that last comment back just a little bit.

    My purpose was not to turn this into a conservative vs. liberal thing – which I now see I’ve probably already done. My point in invoking the “C” word was only to demonstrate how those on one side of the aisle have reacted to all this. (With enough pith and vinegar to fill the Grand Canyon.)

    I also have some serious objections to the way folks with the “L” branded on their foreheads have completely disregarded the “C’s” concerns and turned this into some sort of universalist love parade. (I’m lookin’ at you Brian McLaren and your whole “let’s fast with Muslims during Ramadan” thing. )

    I don’t hate or fear Muslims. I spent the best summer of my life in their company … learning to love them. I don’t hate Conservative Evangelicals either. I spent the best years of my youth learning to see the world through their eyes. They’re pretty much a part of my DNA.

    I just think the Constitution guarantees whomever the right to assemble and pray. Wherever. And I love the Constitution. That’s really about it.

    And some of what I’ve read from some folks scares the livin’ tar out of me. More than a million 9/11’s sometimes. On both sides.

  8. Am I worried that tons of Muslims got together and prayed on Capital Hill?

    “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'” (John 14:6)

    Nope!

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