Earlier this week Christianity Today ran a piece in which they asked three different Christian leaders whether they believed that Christian-Muslim relations have improved since 9/11. Each of them gave three very different responses, which demonstrates just how varied American Christian perspectives are on inter-faith relationships between the world’s two largest religions.
This has certainly been an area of concern for many Christians in recent years. American Muslims have faced persecution, and even threats of violence, sometimes from individual Christians or fringe Christian groups. A Florida pastor recently made international headlines when he planned to stage a Qur’an burning at his church. And there’s no denying that anti-Muslim rhetoric has been ramped up by many of our political and religious leaders.
But there are also reasons for hope.
Despite all of the anger and harsh tones from some, a more civil dialogue is emerging in certain segments of the faith community as Christians and Muslims work to better understand one other. One organization that I am closely tied to, Sudan Sunrise, has even embarked on a project where Darfuri Muslims are working to help South Sudanese Christians build a church. This would have been unheard of ten years ago as the two sides have been embroiled in a devastating civil war that left millions of people dead or displaced. But now, once bitter enemies are working together toward reconciliation!
So what’s your take? Have Christian-Muslim relations improved since the tragic events of September 11, 2001? Or do you struggle to find hope that the two groups can ever coexist?