An anti-Muslim webpage reports (negatively) on a new mosque to be built a few miles from my home.
They are welcome in our neighborhood, which is one of the most diverse in the nation. All y’all haters can stay away–we love the diversity and richness of this wonderful city which is more diverse than New York. We have mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras, Buddhist temples, and churches of all kinds–and we all get along.
A guy responded that I must be nuts, or one of them. Nope. I’m a American who believes in the principles this country stands for: freedom of religion, respect for all, and love of our neighbors. My fellow Houstonians share these values, which makes it one of the greatest cities in this nation. And the Indonesian people are wonderful, whether Christian or Muslim.
A student expressed her fear of her fellow students who are Muslim. I responded–I’d suggest you talk to them. Learn about them. Make friends with them. School is supposed to be a place where you can open your mind, get exposed to new ideas and new people, and expand your horizon. Make the most of it. Take a course in World Religions. You’ll be glad you did.
Another guy said they worship demons. I responded–The Quran teaches that God is merciful and compassionate. That he is the God of Abraham, worshipped by Jews and Christians, who are people of the book and to be respected. It teaches that Moses and Jesus were true prophets, and that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, to whom the Angel Gabriel appeared. It teaches “there is no compulsion in religion.” They don’t “secretly recruit,” they speak openly of their faith and invite interested people to a reasonable dialogue. For centuries they lived peacefully alongside Christians and Jews. In Jerusalem, the various Christian denominations have long entrusted the keys to the tomb of Jesus to a Muslim family.
Some suggested desecrating the site with pork products. I responded–This is silly. Islam forbids eating of pork (as does the Bible, in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14). That’s all.
Another fellow said this mosque sounded like a military compound. Nope. It’s a mosque. A place of prayer. It will have an educational center. There are others in the neighborhood. It’s a place where the God of Abraham, Musa, and Isa will be praised.