Christians and Muslims

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For Allah Muslims and Christians are sisters and brothers

In the developing situation in the Arab world it seems that the position of Christians is more and more at a stake. I suppose that some people see Christians as a part of the West and they see the West as economical occupier as it did in the past by colonization of the Arab world. This mutual tension creates mistrust and kicked Christians out of the Arab world, though they are Arabs too.

The next step is that politicians in the West see Muslims as a threat for them. This affects the position of Muslims in the West. This is a negative spiral, which affects also the meaning of Islam as a peaceful religion.

What also is happening is that there are tensions between groups of Muslims. They see other groups in the Islam as an enemy, especially between Sunni and Shia Muslims. We see this is Iraq and Indonesia for instance. Violence grows and everyone becomes a looser.

How to overcome this negativity? Islam means Peace. How to maintain peace, if you feel suppressed or threatened by some people? How to maintain your dignity? It is a temptation to call for a jihad, the fight against an enemy. It looks like a justification for my anger in myself.

But then I ask you: when do you start the big Jihad: the fight against the enemy in yourself? For this, you have to know yourself.

I have some experience. I organized ten times a vigil in front of ITEC arms fair in Europe. From the beginning I realized that it is easy to become angry with the people who sell weapons. But for me Mahatma Gandhi is an example for how to deal with aggression. I fasted during the ITEC arms fair in order to deal with aggression in myself. I experienced that this was helpful and the visitors realized why we were standing in front of the arms fair without attacking them personally. Some of them got inconvenient feelings and showed them. It was just a drop in an ocean of a destructive fair. But it pushed people to think about what they were doing.

Very important in Islam is the Ramadan. It is a possibility to deal with the enemy in my. In a certain way it is already a challenge to stop smoking during daytime, not drinking water during the hot summer days: you have to deal with yourself, how to maintain peace with yourself. How to avoid bothering your relatives because of Ramadan?

The big Jihad is much more difficult than the small jihad, but also more important to remove bad things in myself.

Moreover, when you read from the Qur’an shura 60 verses 7, you see how strong Islam directs to peace: It may be that Allah will establish friendship between you and those of them who were your enemies. Allah is All-Powerful. And Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.

I became friend with one American, who had a consultancy and attended the ITEC arms fair. Colleagues asked him if he went over to the other side.

Following this path, you can maintain your dignity. Peace upon you. Then we can realize that we, Muslims and Christians, are sister and brothers.

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Louis Bohte ofm

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