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10 Things to Know About Islam View Comments
By Christopher Heffron

Contrary to what some believe, Islam is not a breeding ground for terrorism. Rather, it is a religion
that promotes prayer, almsgiving, selfimprovement and respect for one’s neighbors as outlined in the Quran.

There is a line in the holy Quran that edifies just as it disarms us: “O people of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you.”

That verse speaks of what is lacking between Muslims and Christians: peaceful convergence and dialogue. It’s as though God, the first champion of interreligious dialogue, is inspiring us to shelve our differences and speak with civil tongues. But far too often we have chosen not to listen.

It’s fair to say that most Catholics, prior to 9/11, lacked awareness of Islam—a bit shocking given the number of Muslims around the world. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 percent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030.

The events of 9/11 changed everything. After that day, our dearth of information merged with something far more sinister: suspicion.

Recent events, such as the Quran burning at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, and the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero, have only widened the gulf between Muslims and Christians. But before a better relationship between Muslims and Christians can begin, understanding and education are fundamental.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it would be especially wise for us to understand who our Muslim brothers and sisters are and what their history and culture can teach us.

Here are 10 things we all should know about Islam.

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Christopher Heffron is the assistant editor of this publication. Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (ohio.cair.com), contributed to this article.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog When we suffer, we don’t just come to understand the pain of Christ’s cross more, we come to understand the depth of God’s love for us: that he would endure such pain for us—in our place. We have a God who endured death so we would never have to do so.

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