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CAIR ISLAM-OPED: Love for Jesus Can Bring Christians and Muslims Together

Ibrahim2IMPORTANT NOTE: This commentary was very popular with readers nationwide when it was first distributed before Christmas a number of years ago. It is being offered again this year for those publications that were unable to publish it previously.

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ISLAM-OPED is a syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Please consider the following commentary for publication.

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TEL: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726 (c)

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Love for Jesus Can Bring Christians, Muslims Together

By Ibrahim Hooper

Word Count: 569

[Ibrahim Hooper is National Communications Director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]

“Behold! The angels said: ‘O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and in (the company of) those nearest to God.’”

Before searching for this quote in the New Testament, you might first ask your Muslim co-worker, friend or neighbor for a copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text. The quote is from verse 45 of chapter 3 in the Quran.

It is well known, particularly in this holiday season, that Christians follow the teachings of Jesus. What is less well understood is that Muslims also love and revere Jesus as one of God's greatest messengers to mankind.

Other verses in the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the direct word of God, state that Jesus was strengthened with the “Holy Spirit” (2:87) and is a "sign for the whole world.” (21:91) His virgin birth was confirmed when Mary is quoted as asking: “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” (3:47)

The Quran shows Jesus speaking from the cradle and, with God’s permission, curing lepers and the blind. (5:110) God also states in the Quran: “We gave (Jesus) the Gospel (Injeel) and put compassion and mercy into the hearts of his followers.” (57:27)

As forces of hate in this country and worldwide try to pull Muslims and Christians apart, we are in desperate need of a unifying force that can bridge the widening gap of interfaith misunderstanding and mistrust. That force could be the message of love, peace and forgiveness taught by Jesus and accepted by followers of both faiths.

Christians and Muslims would do well to consider another verse in the Quran reaffirming God’s eternal message of spiritual unity: “Say ye: ‘We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.’” (2:136)

The Prophet Muhammad himself sought to erase any distinctions between the message he taught and that taught by Jesus, who he called God’s “spirit and word.” Prophet Muhammad said: “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”

When Muslims mention the Prophet Muhammad, they always add the phrase “peace be upon him.” Christians may be surprised to learn that the same phrase always follows a Muslim’s mention of Jesus or that we believe Jesus will return to earth in the last days before the final judgment. Disrespect toward Jesus, as we have seen all too often in our society, is very offensive to Muslims.

Unfortunately, violent events and hate-filled rhetoric around the world provide ample opportunity for promoting religious hostility. And yes, Muslims and Christians do have some differing perspectives on Jesus’ life and teachings. But his spiritual legacy offers an alternative opportunity for people of faith to recognize their shared religious heritage.

America’s Muslim community stands ready to honor that legacy by building bridges of interfaith understanding and challenging those who would divide our nation along religious or ethnic lines.

We have more in common than we think.

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CAIR-MN, Minnesota Muslim Faith Leaders React to Jerusalem Declaration

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 12/12/2017) --On Wednesday December 13th, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), will join Minnesota Muslim Faith leaders at a news conference condemning Trump’s decision on the status of Jerusalem.

WHAT: Faith Leaders Press Conference Responding to Jerusalem Declaration

WHEN: Tomorrow Wednesday 13th at 1pm.

WHERE: Ummatul Islam Mosque 3015 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CAIR-GA: Georgia Family Asks Trump Administration to Grant Cancer-Stricken Syrian Father a Travel Ban Exemption for Medical Treatment at Emory

(ATLANTA, GA, 12/12/2017) -- On Wednesday, December 13, the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations plans to hold a press conference with a Georgia family that is calling on the Trump administration to grant their cancer-stricken relative entry to the United States for medical treatment at Emory Eye Care Center.

WHAT: Press Conference with Georgia Family Seeking Medical Waiver to Travel Ban

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 11 a.m.

WHERE: I.B.E.W. Building, 501 Pulliam Street, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30312

CONTACT: CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"We ask the Trump administration to immediately allow this Syrian grandfather to return to Atlanta for medical treatment before his cancer spreads beyond the point of no return," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. "If this gentleman dies, a daughter will lose her father, four grandchildren will lose their grandfather, and a husband will lose his father-in-law, to an illness that was treatable."

SEE: CAIR Says U.S. Supreme Court's Decision on Trump’s Muslim Ban Ignores Impact on Citizens and Their Relatives Abroad

"I beg President Trump to let my father come back to Georgia so that doctors can treat his cancer," said Mrs. Hana Al-Bitar, a Roswell resident and daughter of Mr. Mohammed Al-Bitar. "This has nothing to do with politics or security. This is about family. Mr. President, please don't let my father die like this."

Hana Al-Bitar, a Syrian-American teacher, lives in Roswell with her husband, a mechanical engineer. Al-Bitar's father is Mohammad Samir Al-Bitar, a 76-year-old Syrian citizen and retired businessman who lives in Damascus with his wife. 

Mr. Al-Bitar--who visited Georgia in 2013, 2014, and 2015 to spend time with his grandchildren--was recently diagnosed with a cancerous eye tumor. The tumor requires a unique medical treatment that is unavailable in Syria or surrounding Middle Eastern nations. However, a hospital in Atlanta is able and willing to offer the procedure.

His first application for a visa to return to the United States for medical treatment was denied by the State Department, so he applied a second time with assistance from CAIR Georgia and a local elected official. 

Mr. Al-Bitar's second visa application was undergoing "administrative processing," including review of the Administration's new DS-5535 form--which requires selected immigrants to share information about their social media accounts, family members, and past employment--when the Supreme Court reinstated the Trump Administration's travel restrictions on Syrian immigrants.

Now, Mr. Al-Bitar cannot enter the United States without a special waiver.

Mitchell added, "This is a classic example of a case in which the President's travel ban should not apply. We have nothing to fear from a sick grandfather seeking medical treatment."

CAIR recently launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.

For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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