The Muslim–Christian Coalition recently held another successful dialogue between Muslims and Christians, with the aim of replacing Islamophobia with understanding, and of providing assistance to Palestinian Christians.
On Saturday, May 4, 2019, a “Muslim–Christian Luncheon Dialogue” was convened at HCEF headquarters in Bethesda, organized by the HCEF and sponsored by the National Presbyterian Church of Washington, DC. The twenty-one participants represented eleven faith-based organizations. The purpose of this interfaith meeting was in line with ongoing efforts of the HCEF:
- to sustain, empower, and bring life to the PalestinianChristians of the Holy Land;
- to build interfaith harmony by challenging western stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims;
- to educate western Christians about the real Islam, distinguishing faithful people of good will from extremists.
Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, the President and CEO of the HCEF as well as a founding member and the Chairman of the U.S. Muslim–Christian Coalition (MCC), articulated the issues that guided the discussion. These challenging issues include the need to ensure that Jerusalem will be open to all faiths equally, the Islamophobic hostility that has been unleashed against Muslim communities, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and the plight of refugees, including Palestinian refugees.
The MCC, which was formed in 2016, is committed to the promotion of peaceful, secure environments in which all of God’s children can thrive. We agree that, “as Muslims and Christians, we commit ourselves to putting our faith into action by continuing to promote peaceful coexistence and to support our shared values and our people.”
Here are the highlights of the roundtable discussion:
- Both a Muslim and a Christian clergy member offered opening prayers.
- Several of the participants spoke about the unity-in-diversity that past generations of Muslims, Christians, and Jews enjoyed as they lived peacefully side-by-side in the Middle East.
- “We are connected through our shared humanity,” remarked one of the participants.
- Another participant added that a diverse society is “like a mosaic” in which each element maintains its individual characteristics while being united to all of the other elements.
- Since prejudice is generated by ignorance, it is imperative that we strive to educate our own faith groups about other faith traditions, and to inform the public about what is happening in the Holy Land.
- We must also be aware of our own areas of ignorance and must work to fill in the gaps in our own knowledge.
- Action must be joined to prayer.
- Muslims and Christians need each other in the struggle for peace and justice.
- As friends joined together in solidarity, we will work toward identifying specific goals and tasks that we will undertake together.
We extend an open invitation to all people of goodwill to join us in this call to action.