Anti-Muslim Protests Planned Across America

27 05 2017

On June 10, 2017, in 22 major cities in America (Yes, you, Houston! Seattle! St. Paul! Kansas City! Raleigh! Orlando! etc.) a group called ACT! for America is planning anti-Muslim “March Against Sharia” protests. This conservative group expresses their prejudice against Muslims with the typical fear-mongering outlandish claims about an Islamic conspiracy to take over America; that “tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities, even infiltrating our government” and asserting that radicalized Muslims “have infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department.”

The website for one Florida branch of ACT! for America even makes this highly offensive claim: “It is not ‘fanatical’, ‘radical’, or ‘extreme’ Islam that we are fighting, but normal, orthodox, canonical, typical, accepted, traditional Islam.” This is pure prejudicial hate-speech against all the upstanding Muslim-American citizens around us who ACT! wants to deny their freedom of religion.

This group’s solution is to ban ALL Muslims from entering America, and to pass Anti-Sharia laws in every state before it’s too late and America falls to Global Islamization.

[Interestingly, my award-winning book A VIOLENT LIGHT introduces a similar group with a similar name (“Act Now to Save America”) though I hadn’t known at the time that ACT! for America existed.]

What can we do to show our support for our Muslim neighbors? Here are some ideas from my contact at the group Shoulder to Shoulder:

  • Rather than planning counter-protests or vigils or anything like that (which could add fuel to ACT’s desire to gain media attention), it might be more fruitful to use the fact that it’s Ramadan to encourage interfaith Iftars [fast-breaking meals] on the nights of June 9 and 10 in particular, and we could help pitch these to local and national media as the “counter-protests”, in that they are ignoring the fearmongering that ACT is doing and instead, getting together with neighbors to celebrate a beautiful time for the Muslim religious calendar.  Of course, just encouraging interfaith partners to connect with their Muslim contacts in these cities to find out what they are doing/thinking is the first step.
  • Muslim Advocates is working on a letter that could be sent to mayors, police chiefs, etc., to alert them of the anti-Muslim marches and to make sure they understand that these are hate groups leading them.  We could encourage faith leaders at local levels to be part of the group that sends/delivers those letters, showing community leaders that a broad segment of their constituents (not just Muslims!) are concerned about this.
  • ReThink Media is willing to help us with drafting and pitching op-eds from local clergy in some select cities.  I will do some outreach to clergy on our rapid response list, but if you have people you’d like to recommend to me in any of the cities displayed on this map (where protests are planned), please let me know.  We’d want the op-eds to run the weekend of the protests, not before, so that we don’t give them extra publicity.

Is your city on the map? If so, and if you’re interested in doing something in your city, perhaps Shoulder to Shoulder or I can link you with others who are also committed to religious freedom and loving your neighbor.

Is your city not on the map? Then I recommend you begin now to make friends with the Muslims in your school, workplace, neighborhood, park, and city. Don’t let the nightly news convince you that all Muslims are out to kill you. They’re not. Get to know a Muslim and find out the truth for yourself.

If you are a Christian and with the goal of self-preservation want to close your nation, your city and your heart to Muslims, I suggest that your fear is too great and your God is too small. Ask God to enlarge the capacity of your heart to love–whether you consider Muslims your neighbors or your enemies–Jesus offers no second option for those who follow him.

And please pass this on to other groups or churches in your city. Letting our Muslim neighbors know they’re cared for as an important part of our multi-cultural America is the best way to keep them from being radicalized by angry, disenfranchised extremists.

 





Praying for Strangers

8 07 2013

Tonight we begin another fasting month of Ramadan, when we will join our Muslim friends and neighbors in not eating or drinking during the daylight hours.  As much as my body hates fasting, my spirit knows that my body needs to be reminded who is really in charge here.  Or as my former mentor, Lou Engle, used to say, I need to set aside lesser affections for the greater hunger of my soul for God alone.

This dichotomy of flesh vs. spirit vying for preeminence is also found in my prayer life.  Passing through each day, my flesh and my spirit have different agendas—one is willing to carve out a small niche for prayer, the other craves a 24/7 experience of communion with God.

This month I greatly enjoyed reading River Jordan’s book, Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit. The author sent both her sons off to war one January, and in her anxiety and helplessness, felt God draw her into an unusual new year’s resolution: to pray for one stranger every day for a year.  Sometimes she prayed silently as she passed by, but many times she stopped and told the stranger that she would be praying for him/her, and was so blessed at the responses she received.  Every time it was hard to take a risk, but she never regretted telling people she would pray for them.  She ended the year feeling more blessed than probably any one of the people she met.

One reason I love this book is because I’ve found a kindred spirit.  I, too, have a habit of praying for strangers everywhere I go.  But I rarely approach a stranger and tell them I’m praying.  This part of Jordan’s story challenged me.  Sometimes a prayer may be enough, but sometimes the encouraging word and smile of a person who is praying may make a greater impact.  I hope to overcome my fears and be willing to talk to these people my heart is already praying for.

I’d like to end by quoting a couple paragraphs from River Jordan’s book (p.213):

   On some days I pray for more than one person.  Because I can.  Because I want to.  Because my heart has been softened by the year of connecting with the world around me.  Just the other day I passed a man on his riding lawn mower wearing a white hat.  He smiled and waved and I waved back, and in that moment, special stranger of the day status or not, it was my automatic response to wish blessings on his life and say a quick prayer for his health and happiness.  And the rest of my day continued that way.  A cashier, the woman at the insurance company, the librarian—I prayed for them all.

prayingforstrangers

   Then I began to wonder: Could it be possible for us to move through our day on a wave of prayer, receiving and giving, offering silent words, thoughts, good intent to the people that we meet along the way?  Could our cities have undercurrents of prayer that course through the business of our lives?  Would there be a tangible feeling, a current that pulls at us, whispering for us to remember we are part of a larger, vast ocean teeming with life and stories?  If I can begin to live this way for a moment, for part of a day, for a week at a time, then yes, I can imagine a place where people find a common ground of timelessness and understanding and goodwill.  And I like that.

You can read more at http://www.prayingforstrangers.com