The second of a series of articles examining how we can respond to Muslims in the UK.
The day after bombs exploded on the London Underground in 2005, we received a phone call from Fatima*. We had lost touch with her when she moved house. But now she was living near one of the explosion sites and was phoning because she was afraid. She would not go out of the house without her Muslim headscarf, but she was scared that if she did wear it she would be attacked.
Many of our Christian friends were surprised by this story. They thought it was the ‘non-Muslims’ who were scared. We often hear statements like ‘The Muslims are taking over’. Sometimes these are said with sadness, sometimes with anger; but most often with fear. It was such emotions which prompted the Runnymead Trust in 1997 to coin the word ‘Islamophobia’ – the irrational fear of Islam.
Our attitude to others is fundamental to our spiritual life. Fear is not to master us, or to be our motivation. Rather ‘perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18). As Christians we can form our own conclusions about Islam as a religious system. But we are told with complete clarity to love our neighbours as ourselves – including our Muslim neighbours.
So, how can we move from fear to love, and how can we help our Christian friends to do the same?
* Name has been changed
Written by AWM UK’s former Ministry Team Co-ordinator and edited, with permission, for the website.
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