Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon. Author, “Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith,” ‘Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action’ and ‘Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World
Former South Carolina governor David Beasley closed a recent three day gathering focused on Islamophobia and Religious Freedom at Temple University by reminding the thirty plus leaders gathered that Jesus commanded his followers to love their neighbor. In the tone sounding more like a preacher than a former politician, Beasley exhorted, “Jesus never said, ‘Love your neighbor... just not your Muslim ones.’ Jesus never said, ‘Love your neighbor, just not the Shi’ite.’ Jesus never said, ‘Love your neighbor, just not the Sunni.’ Rather, he said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ This is the most powerful message in the world. When this happens, the whole world will stand still out of awe.”
These are compelling words in the midst of a national climate of increased fear and discrimination toward the almost three million Muslim Americans living in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hosted a meeting with American Muslim community leaders to discuss a proposed response to the anticipated incidents planned by hate groups opposing Islam over the recent Columbus Day weekend in several cities across the United States.
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