The Seattle Times reported recently how, in an effort to ease tensions and bring understanding to a community unfamiliar with the Muslim faith, one local group of Muslims in the city organizes a regular open house throughout the year, where members of the community can come in and learn about the Islamic faith and have a one-on-one dialogue with individuals.
The idea is definitely creative, which I’m all for. It’s a brave, bold and community-centered approach to not only sharing one’s faith, but sharing themselves. We live in a society and culture where everything is available to us, and we can listen to the opinions of different individuals at a moment’s notice. So, the idea of hosting an open house is really an excellent extension of what our culture calls for today.
But, even with the social media-driven community we live in, it’s important to note that no community should ever feel threatened or misunderstood for their religious convictions or beliefs. Lest we forget, in the early years of Christianity, many believers suffered persecution because of their faith. And, they didn’t have open houses either; they simply ran for their lives.
So, while I applaud the efforts of the Muslim community to reach out and share their faith in a way that expresses their love and fellowship to their fellow man, I’m weary of the idea that, when backed into a corner based on people’s negative perceptions of Muslims, they have to somehow “prove” that they’re decent human beings. To me, that just screams intolerance in a country that claims to be the most tolerant of all nations.