Followers of Islam
Jones and his "Burn the Quran" campaign. I think he would say, "This has got to stop."
Followers of Islam believe that the Quran is a collection of revelations received by the Prophet Mohammad from God about 1400 years ago. They believe that Mohammad was the last of a series of prophets and teachers and messangers that included Adam, Moses, Jesus, Abraham all means revealed by us as well.
The word Islam means "peaceful surrender to the will of God". The Quran was written at a time when Moslim people were being driven from their homes, prosecuted, and killed. The Old Testament was written at a time when Jewish people were driven from their homes, prosecuted, and killed. And religious scholars will tell that most holy scriptures have stories of war and violence in them. Throughout history, most faiths have used this text to justify violence. And if there is anyone in this room at this moment who is thinking that I've got it wrong, after church today, pull up your Bible and look up psalm 1:37 and you'll see on that text has passages that can make us uncomfortable.
But also like the Bible the predominant message of the Quran is a peace and care and loving God, justice, care for the neighbor, care for the stranger. In the Bible, we have thou shall not kill. In the Quran, we have "whoever kills another, surely he is killing all of humanity, and whoever saves the life of another, surely he saves the lives of all humanity." These are words of peace, words of faith, words that could save the world if we take them to heart.
The second that you can do next time someone sends you one of those emails demonizing Islam, delete it. Don't forward it. Don't participate in stereotyping. Don't give in to your fear. It's ok to be a little afraid, we all have those emotions. Just don't give in to your fear. Don't sign on for it. Don't focus on this tiny group of extremists who commit acts of violence. Focus on the hundreds of millions of Moslim people in the world who are people of faith, whose priorities and concerns and families are not so different from your own.
And third, when you think of Moslim people, think of the individuals; Think of the professor in Ohio state; Think of the engineer at Handa; Think of the teacher at the elementary school, down the street. When you think of Moslim people, remember those who died on 9,11, not the highjackers you sir can’t count on them. Remember Mohamed Sunhami Hamadi. He was born in Pakistan. He came to the united states as a small child with his parents. He played high school football. He went to college. He became a part-time ambulance driver. He died as a Moslim young man on 9,11 trying to rescue people and save lives. When you think of Moslim people, remember Mohammad Salahuddin Cloudhurri . He was a waiter at "Windows on the world" which was at the top of the world trade center. He died that day. His wife had their baby two days later. When you think of Moslim people, remember Rama Salli. She was a woman, 28 years old. Her neighbours discribed her as fun and outgoing and generous and she died on American airlines flight 11, seven months pregnant with her first child. Remember the founder of the Islamic circle of North America who worked in world trade center and also died on Sptember 11. That same group now is giving away tens of hundreds of copies of the Quran is reponsed to the campaign about "burning of the Quran". In the language of their own tradition they are spreading words of faith and peace and hope. One of the ladies at the 8:30 service this morning said to me after," Maybe we should declare September 11 by a Quran and some of it. It is for us to share our message of love and hope and peace but let us do it with grace