The NCAA basketball championship was big news in the U.S. this past week. But in the UK, and even in major US cities, police were on increased alert against violence toward Muslims. In March, flyers appeared in England calling for April 3rd to be Punish a Muslim Day. The viral letter, which also spread on social media, vilely assigned points based on various kinds of violence: 25 points for pulling off a headscarf, 500 for butchering a Muslim, 1000 for burning or bombing a mosque.
Even if Muslims were our enemies, and most clearly are not, Jesus’s command is clear: Love them. Certainly not throw acid in their face, for which the flyer awarded 50 points.
Instead of engendering violence, Punish a Muslim Day happily resulted in a backlash of love and concern. People looked out for Muslims, people prayed and the #loveamuslim hashtag trended.
This seems to me to be a good way to respond to violence both planned against, and perpetrated by, Muslims.
Last week Muslim parents in San Antonio were arrested and charged with abusing their daughter who refused to marry the man chosen for her. Police allege they beat her with broomsticks and threw hot cooking oil on her, contributing to her running away. Of course this kind of violence should not happen in the U.S. or any other country for that matter.
What feelings does this bring up for you? What can we do about this situation? Maybe not much. But perhaps we can look out for Muslims in similar situations, both kids running from parents and parents struggling to raise kids in foreign situations. We can certainly pray. And we can love, even when it’s hard. Even when it seems irrational.
Please join me in praying against violence toward Muslims both from outside the community and within families. And maybe make a special effort today to reach out to a Muslim with words of kindness and welcome.
Last week’s Muslim Connect talked about a recent book by my friend, James Wright. Please go to Amazon and get a copy of James’s book. (The Kindle version is a steal at $.99!) It will help you connect with Muslims. Plus, your buying a copy will facilitate books being given to Muslims who lack the resources to get their own. Contact James for more information and bulk discounts.