Thursday, April 30, 2015

Learning About The Quran ... From A Catholic Archbishop - Tom Gjelten

For years, Fitzgerald has been urging his fellow Christians to acquaint themselves with Islam and its holy book, the Quran. It has been a challenging mission at a time when many non-Muslims associate Islam with violence and when many Muslims think the West has declared war on their faith.

"The more you understand a religion, the better it is," Fitzgerald says, "whether it's Christians studying Islam or Christians studying Christianity or Muslims studying Christianity. I think this helps in your relations."

In his class he often highlights differences between Christianity and Islam, though in such a way as to encourage respect for distinctive Muslim approaches.

"In our ceremonies we read the scripture — the Gospel is read," he said in a recent classroom session. "In Islamic prayer, it is not read, it is recited. The imam has to know the Quran. So it's very good to become a ... ," and then Fitzgerald wrote the wordhafiz on the blackboard, explaining that it means someone who has memorized the Quran from start to finish.

Noting that Muslims view the Quran as a sacred object and are careful about who touches it and how, Fitzgerald challenged his students to consider why the book is held in such esteem in Islam.

"Would there be anything comparable in Catholic Christianity?" he asked.

"Yes," he nodded. "In a way, the Quran is a sacrament, isn't it? It's a sign of the presence of God."

"A well-informed Christian can teach Islam better than an ill-informed Muslim,"  Saritoprak says.

"We have a strong emphasis on expertise in the Islamic tradition," Saritoprak says. "One of the sayings of the Prophet [Muhammad] is that wisdom is something a Muslim should have, no matter where it comes from."

Muslims, Saritoprak says, are advised to "seek knowledge even if it is in China."

Fitzgerald's main message for Christians, nevertheless, is that Islam is a religion worth of their respect, just as Christians want Muslims to respect Christianity.

Saritoprak has a similar view.  "People are enemies of what they are ignorant about," he says — citing what he says is another verse from the Quran. - Read More

Learning About The Quran ... From A Catholic Archbishop


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