Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Similarities in Islam, Christianity Are Found in Jesus

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Similarities in Islam, Christianity Are Found in Jesus

Article excerpt

As the country sits transfixed with one of the strangest, divisive and most unpredictable presidencies in the history of the United States, lost in the madness has been the increase in Islamophobia since Donald Trump was elected president.

Islamophobia, defined as "unfounded hostility toward Muslims and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims," has become frighteningly commonplace in the U.S., and this hatred and misinformation has found fertile soil in the past eight months of the Trump presidency

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has documented 451 incidents that stemmed from anti-Muslim bias between April 1 and June 30, 15 percent of which were acts of violence against Muslims. This represents a 91 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes during that time compared to the same time period in 2016.

These crimes occur in a conducive environment. A Pew Research Center survey in 2017 rated Muslims at 48 degrees, the lowest on a 0-100 "feeling thermometer" out of nine religious groups in the United States, two points lower than atheists. Particularly negative feelings toward Muslims were harbored by Republicans and those who were Republican-leaning.

The irony here is that most Americans really have no idea what is in the Quran, the Muslim equivalent of the Bible, beyond the mostly negative and out-of-context sound bites they get from talk radio, cable news or the internet. They have no idea that the three monotheistic religions that follow the same Abrahamic tradition, namely that Abraham was the first prophet of God, are Judaism, Christianity and, yes, the third sibling, Islam.

All three religions were born in the Middle East and are inextricably linked to each another. While Christianity was born from within the Jewish tradition, Islam developed from both Christianity and Judaism. In fact, Islam sees itself as the culmination of the Abrahamic faiths, the final revelation by God in the monotheistic tradition.

The Quran specifically protects Jews and Christians as "peoples of the Book," the "Book" meaning revelations from God to Jews and Christians, which gives them a spiritual connection to Islam.

As such, Islam recognizes as prophets many of the figures revered by Jews and Christians, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus. For Muslims, Muhammad is not a divine being. Instead he is a prophet through whom God delivered his message and an example of piety to emulate. Muhammad is not the equivalent of Jesus in the Islamic tradition, rather it is the Quran that occupies the same central position in Islam as Jesus does in Christianity

It would surprise many to know that the Prophet Muhammad is only mentioned a total of four times in the Quran, while Jesus, the son of Mary, is mentioned 25 times and Moses 136 times. …

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