Interfaith Dialogue

“It is my hope that understanding Islam more fully will prompt followers of Jesus to more faithful Christ-like witness to their Muslim brothers and sisters who today make up nearly a quarter of the world God so dearly loves.”

—(From Calvin E. Shenk in Missio Dei: Understanding Islam)

There is often misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims—to the point of hatred, threats and killing. Mennonites believe that we need to try and understand each other in order to live side by side in the 21st century and relate to those of other faiths.

Calvin Shenk, a Mennonite religion scholar with much experience living in Muslim countries, writes, “In order to ease misunderstandings and promote dialogue, we need to learn about what Islam actually teaches and also seek relationships with Muslims as people.”

He notes that our actions and a life of love modeled on Jesus’ example speak more than any words we might say. While there are many similarities between the two religions, there are also many differences, and many different kinds of Muslims, just as there are many kinds of Christians (or Mennonites!) Many Muslims feel that modern terrorists have “hijacked” Islam for their cause (just as some religious persons try to “hijack” Christianity and make it serve their needs and biases.)

By trying to understand Islam more fully and relating in love to persons of other religions, we offer a faithful Christlike witness to our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world and next door.

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