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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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Elizabeth of Portugal: Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom. 
<p>He, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.</p> American Catholic Blog In the name of the Father, use my mind to bring you honor, and of the Son, fill my heart to spread your word, and of the Holy Spirit, strengthen me to carry you out to all the world. Amen.

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