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.