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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.


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

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Francis Borgia: Today's saint grew up in an important family in 16th-century Spain, serving in the imperial court and quickly advancing in his career. But a series of events—including the death of his beloved wife—made Francis Borgia rethink his priorities. He gave up public life, gave away his possessions and joined the new and little-known Society of Jesus. 
<p>Religious life proved to be the right choice. He felt drawn to spend time in seclusion and prayer, but his administrative talents also made him a natural for other tasks. He helped in the establishment of what is now the Gregorian University in Rome. Not long after his ordination he served as political and spiritual adviser to the emperor. In Spain, he founded a dozen colleges. </p><p>At 55, Francis was elected head of the Jesuits. He focused on the growth of the Society of Jesus, the spiritual preparation of its new members and spreading the faith in many parts of Europe. He was responsible for the founding of Jesuit missions in Florida, Mexico and Peru. </p><p>Francis Borgia is often regarded as the second founder of the Jesuits. He died in 1572 and was canonized 100 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as to those whom God has given you to love. —Henri J.M. Nouwen

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