Donald Trump’s proposal to screen all Muslims in the U.S. has drawn considerable backlash from liberals and conservatives alike. Journalists, bloggers, politicians, and religious leaders have condemned Trump’s plan and argued that it is inconsistent with core American values such as equality and religious freedom. They argue, rightly, that Trump’s comments are definitive proof that he shouldn’t be president. Really, he shouldn’t be anywhere near the presidency. He shouldn’t even be allowed to watch The West Wing.
This criticism is justified and necessary, but it is unlikely to be heard by those most drawn to Trump’s rhetoric.
I travel to the Middle East at least once each year, often visiting
multiple countries. I belong to an evangelical-Muslim discussion group
which meets annually, and the participants include pious, brilliant,
generous Muslim scholars whom I count as my friends. When a topic like
"Islamophobic America" comes up, I share intense personal e-mails with
them. But I came away from my trip to the Middle East this past summer with some new concerns.
Amy Frykholm posted yesterday about Muhammad Musri, the
Muslim leader who met with Terry Jones and helped defuse last week's
Qur'an-burning situation. If more Christians and Muslims knew one another
personally, the whole furor may not have occurred in the first place.
Outrage is pouring in from all sides — as
it should. Terry Jones is the kind of ”pastor” who gives clergy a bad
name; the kind of ”Christian” who affirms the worst suspicions of
skeptics and cynics. His plan to burn copies of the Qur’an on Saturday (September 11) is a stunt both feeble and horrifying.