We stand with Muslims in America and affirm their right to worship and to build houses of worship in this country without harassment. As Friends (Quakers) we are called to “answer that of God in everyone.” The Society of Friends gives us many examples of this practice with respect to the Muslim world. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has a long history of working with people on all sides of conflict. AFSC currently has an office in East Jerusalem and supports young Israeli peace activists challenging militarism in their society, and the AFSC Palestinian Youth Program in the West Bank and Gaza helps Palestinian youth to become contributing citizens in their communities. The Christian and Interfaith Relations Committee of Friends General Conference has recently joined in a dialogue with Muslim scholars around our common acceptance of the two great commandments: “Love thy God” and “Love thy neighbor.”
Quakers have benefited from the protections of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America which begins “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Today we are witness to the persecution and marginalization of Muslims in America by people who do not understand Islam as a religion, by those who blame all Muslims for violence perpetrated by a few, and by those who exploit these fears and prejudices.
It is important for us to state our support for Muslims’ right to worship. But we also recognize that the existing fear and stigma can only be overcome by increased personal contact between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans. Madison Friends Meeting has begun a dialogue with local Muslims in order to better understand the varieties of Muslim faith and experience. We pledge to continue this dialog in our search for truth and for common positive values of peace and tolerance. We invite other faith communities to join with us.
Minute approved at Meeting for Business, December 5, 2010