Challenging the Critics


Reflections on Engaging with Islam in Britain

1. Introduction 

A key part of the mission of the Christian Muslim Forum has been to challenge public negativity towards Islam and Muslims. In some ways this is additional to our main programme of work which is bilateral and seeks to focus even-handedly on both faith communities, their concerns and how we can work together. However, anti-Muslim hatred and various forms of negativity are the backdrop to our work, and wider society’s engagement with diverse communities. Ever since the Forum was launched (and before) there has been a steady stream of stories, or headlines, in the media which portray Islam and Muslim in a negative light. This particular brief report(short summary below) highlights and summarises some of the comments we have produced previously as well as signposting key messages and evidence which challenges critical narratives. This version (May 2014) should be seen as an emerging draft and may be expanded or revised in the future.

2. Rejection of violence

The Christian Muslim Forum is a peace organization and is a founder member of the London Peace Network. Peace, inter faith, Christians and Muslims definitely go together. As an organization we have rejected violence in the name of religion in this statement (August 2012), fully supported by Christian and Muslim Presidents of the Forum.

The ideal of peace is a key message of religions, one of the Gospels opens with a message of peace from God at the time of Jesus’ birth, while in the Qur’an the believers are repeatedly reminded to give greetings of peace to those who do not see eye to eye with them. Yet, religion has a reputation for not being peaceful, Muslims are told that they have not condemned terrorism and atrocity even though they have, read here [this is a very long list!]. {Read more of ‘Slaughter of the Innocents’ here}

3. Similarities and Differences between Christianity and Islam

This is an extract from the written version of a talk (January 2013) given to a discussion group at Brentwood Cathedral on the above topic. 

Sadly, Christians and Muslims have in common abuse and misuse of our scriptures. Many scholars of Islam, Christian, Muslim and non-religious talk about Islam being hijacked by terrorists and extremists, thus the Qur’an has been described as a ‘manual of hate’. For myself I began this journey by reading the Qur’an just over ten years ago and I would encourage people to read the Qur’an rather than being informed by preachers of hate and media perceptions. I recently heard Prince Ghazi of Jordan speaking at a conference on the topic of ‘love’ in the Qur’an

4. Domestic and International Issues

Reflections on overseas atrocities and peace initiatives in the UK ‘A Weekend of Peace and Violence’ (following International Day of Peace, September 2013):

We hold up good Christian-Muslim relationships in the UK, and other countries (where Christians and Muslims who have lived alongside each other harmoniously for hundreds of years), as a model for improved Christian-Muslim relations in needy places. We are 100% committed to the belief that there can be no good religious grounds, in either religion, for hatred of and attacks on the other.

Read the full report here.

Edited by Julian Bond and Fatima Adamou, Christian Muslim Forum

May 2014



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