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The Lord Says:  “Love Thy (Muslim) Neighbor”:  Jewish and Christian Groups reach out to Muslims

The racist, anti-Muslim ad in the New York Subway that used the language of civilized and savages has more than met its match.

A large group of Jews and Christians have countered that hateful message by tapping into the rich mines of neighborly love that are at the heart of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions.      New ads by Rabbis for Human Rights , United Methodist Women, and The Sojourners have tapped into the rich religious commandment to “love thy neighbor” to remind all of us to love our neighbors.

In the Hebrew Bible, God commands people to:

Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
Leviticus 19:18

 

In the Christian tradition, Jesus is quoted as follows in the Gospel of Mark

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Gospel of Mark, 12:29-31.

 

Now, prominent Jewish and Christian groups have committed themselves to embodying these noble messages. 

The initial advertisement was by United Methodist Women, whose advertisement read:

“Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

 

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, who is the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, specified that the phrasing of the ad was to counter the hateful racist anti-Muslim ad:  “We wanted to make it clear that it is in response to the anti-Islam ad.”  The Rabbis for Human Rights' ad reads:

“In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”

 

The spokesperson for the Sojourners said:

““An essential tenet of Christianity is to love our neighbors…In the face of religious extremism, the best response is to treat others like we would want to be treated. Our ad campaign has a simple message that is at the heart of our faith.”

We live in a world where there are hateful followers of every tradition, and their message of hate often commands front-page news.   

Thank God there are also many followers of every tradition who seek to embody the noble and the beautiful aspects of our traditions, reminding us of the highest ethical imperative: that the love of God is connected to the love of our neighbors.  

Well done, neighobrs.  Well done.

Tags: ad, advertisement, biblica, christian, hate, jewish, love, muslims, neighbor, rabbis for human rights, sojourners, subway, united methodist women

Comments

  1. When will the Muslims speak up for the Buddhists, Hindus, Bahai, Zorastrians, Jews and Christians that have their houses of worship burnt and they themselves murdered or harassed.  When???  When will Muslim countries allow others to practice their religion, when???

  2. dear Leo, If you are genuinely seeking real information, here is some. 
    Iranian who saved Jews:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16190541

    Bosnian Muslim who saved Jews (and the Sarajevo Haggadah)
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/03/071203fa_fact_brooks

    British-Indian Muslim Sufi woman who saved many during WWII and paid the ultimate price:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12151715

    There are heroes and villains in all of our communities.  I invite you to educate yourself about the complex history of all of us, instead of assuming that any one group has a monopoly on beauty and goodness, or evil and hatred.

    Respectfully, Omid Safi

  3. I opened a book in my neighborhood library about the Jewish religion and it said in the introduction that Jews have prospered greatly under the Muslim rule of the Middle East and parts of Europe. Due to the special status that the people of the scripture i. e the Jews and the Christians. Reflecting on this too I see the back lash against Muslims in western countries whenever an event takes place. While Jews, Christians and others that live in the Middle East ( for centuries) go about unharmed save some isolated insidents where mostly outside hands are suspected in the act and surely benefit from the mayhem. After the American invasion to Iraq churches were attacked and the CNN reporter interviewed the priest of one of these churches and tried to imply in his question that Muslims blew up his church. The priest strongly denied this baseless accusation and told the reporter that Muslims and Christians have always lived side by side in complete harmony until you people mingled in our affairs. So you see sir there is more to the picture than what you only see.
    Your truly
    Your loving Muslim neighbor
    Ihab

  4. Dear Sir:  There are individuals of good conscience who are humanitarian no matter their affiliation, and that includes atheists.  I am quite acquainted with comparative religion.  When ayatollahs (who issue fatwas for something that disturbs them), mullahs and imams start to speak out against the tyranny that is fomented against religious minorities, namely, Bahai, Christians, and others, in the predominantly Islamic countries, then, I will believe that Islam is sincere about wanting to live in harmony.

    When Jews and Christians are allowed to wear their insignia in Islamic countries, then, we will know that Islam views them with equal respect.  When the community of Islamists in the U.S. comes together and speaks out against wanting to annhilate Israel and against vicious attacks on religious minorities in Islamic countries, then, I will believe your sincerity.

    Until that time, there will be little progress.  I believe that if Islam were dominant in the U.S., we non-Muslims would be paying jizya (tax), and we would be viewed as dhimmis, i.e., second-class citizens.  Until Muslims demonstrates tolerance to others, I remain skeptical of its intentions.  It has tried to conquer the West since the aggressive Battle of Tours (Poitiers) about 710, and I believe that it continues.

    Perhaps, you can reach out to your community and educate them about the expectations that many of us non-Muslims have.  We do not care about the practice of your religion as long as it does not impede ours.

  5. It is very easy to use history and hatred of the past as a means to maintain distrust and paranoia. One can site Christian crusaders, or current mistreatment of by Palestinians by the government of Israel, etc for this distrust. However we can transcend all of this, and start having a different vision about ourselves, and our relations with our neighbors. As Zarathustra, the Persian prophet has taught us, it is up to us to choose stand by the forces of light and goodness, or follow the forces darkness and destruction.

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