The mosque next door
For every bigoted, hateful Christian we read about and see on TV there are probably a dozen others who are quietly & humbly trying to do good and who realize most Muslims are doing the same.
This is a nice article, well worth reading the whole thing IMO—it tells the story of some members of an Episcopalian congregation and their pastor who went to visit a mosque and realized that Muslims aren’t so different from them:
Diversity is not new in Bolingbrook, and Muslims are not a hidden population. Students in headscarves attend the high school; big-box grocery stores boast Middle Eastern and Indian aisles; a halal market does brisk business. For 25 years the mayor has enthusiastically participated in the annual Pakistan Independence Day celebration.
But when Muslims purchased a foreclosed church building in Bolingbrook, a colleague told me that pastors in our local clergy association were concerned. One suggested that demonic forces were at work. I began to imagine protesters holding angry signs and writing inflamed letters to the editor.
Thankfully, nothing happened. Bolingbrook’s tolerance for difference prevailed. Then, in October 2014, the Muslim community received some unwelcome attention when a local Muslim teenager was arrested at O’Hare Airport: the 19-year-old and his two siblings were carrying tickets to Turkey and seemed to be on their way to Syria to join ISIS. The news coverage was explosive. His parents were shown on TV, his mother weeping in her hijab.
Dramatic incidents like this distract us from the fact that Islam is becoming a normal part of American suburban life. Yes, it’s true that some Muslim teenagers and young adults have been recruited online to join the terrorist organization that calls itself the Islamic State. It’s also true that Muslims have been killed in their own homes in Raleigh and Dallas, and that North American Muslim families and congregations are targeted for harassment and hate crimes even though most of them are living ordinary lives.
In the spring, two members of our church, St. Benedict, called up the leaders at Masjid al-Jumu’ah and asked if some Episcopalians could pay a visit. The leaders responded with warmth and excitement, and a month later 25 of us Episcopalians gathered in their parking lot. We wanted to be gracious visitors, so we women covered our hair with scarves and the men wore long pants.[…]
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This is the pastor who wrote the article: @HeidiHaverkamp