Religious leaders come together to discuss growing concerns

Leadership Perspectives

Religious leaders from different faiths discuss growing global concerns

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The current global situation isn’t very stable at this point in time.  Many Americans are concerned about Muslims and the Islamic State.    Dr. Deborah Abu-Alrub is a Huntsville native and the Director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Alabama.  Dr. Nauman Qureshi is the President of the Huntsville Islamic Center.  Dr. Frank Broyles, a Presbyterian Minister, is a representative of the Interfaith Mission Service.  This week they stopped by WHNT News 19 to give their perspective as religious leaders on several issues that are concerning American citizens.

Not all Muslims are the same, just like all Christians are not the same.  Many people are generalizing the actions of ISIS as being what all Muslims do and that just isn’t true.  Dr. Qureshi explains that ISIS, “is a very small segment that has gone off in a different direction, and unfortunately attracted a lot of attention. And it really has nothing to do with the basic tenets of Islam, what we believe in, how we practice our religion on a day-to-day basis. This religion has been here for 14-hundred years, so you can imagine, given the time and the number of the, how these people have evolved from different parts of the world of course they think differently and in every generation there have been splinter groups of one sort or another.  So this is not something new.  I mean in every generation we have had situations where there is a splinter group which takes Islam and sort of hijacks it into a different direction.”

The Christian faith isn’t immune to this sort of radicalism.  The Westboro Baptist Church is often party to activities that many Christians don’t approve of such as protesting funerals.  The Ku Klux Klan is also a splinter faction of the Christian religion.  These groups don’t make up every member of the religion, but give Christians a bad name.  The same can be said of the Muslim faith.  Dr. Deborah Abu-Alrub says that, “My answer to people who ask about Isis and Islam, look at the Ku Klux Klan and Christianity.  They don’t go together.  Anytime you see violence and hatred, it doesn’t have anything to do with religion, and I think we all know that.  But also you can go back to the Koran, and you can look at the verses that are used frequently to say that to connect the Koran and violence. You have to look at those verses and the historic content in which they were revealed and it was in self defense.  There are literally rules for engagement in Islam, and it has nothing to do with offense, it’s about defense.  So being able to engage in war was for a defensive purpose only.  So these people who claim to be Muslims, they obviously don’t know their religion, and they do not represent our religion as a majority.”

The texts in question were written so very long ago.  It’s difficult to read their messages and understand them without knowing the context of the texts.  Dr. Frank Broyles feels that “What we need here, I call it faithful scholarship.  Scholarship that comes from within the faith traditions, Muslim, Christians and Jews, to really look into their traditions in-depth, and look at the text behind it.  What does it mean in the context of the time, and how can it be applied today.  And the number of scholars that are speaking out now are in the thousands and thousands, I understand, about the proper reading of the text.  That it’s not represented by ISIS or any radical ideology.”
Watch our full interview here in six parts:


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