Building Alliances Between Muslims and People of Other Religious Traditions

The following are notes from a talk I gave at a topic group at the Muslim Liberation Workshop [see previous three articles]. The group was on building alliances between Muslims and people of other religious traditions.

As Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others whose faith traditions have roots in West Asia, we have much to be proud of; we have much in common.

Ancient peoples developed religions that promoted justice, liberation, good human behavior, and a good way of living despite being oppressed in irrational, rigid societies.

Muslims from the beginning stood for unity, despite the divisions that dominated tribal societies in Arabia in the time of Mohamed.

Jews put forward a code of ethics in a world in which many people were enslaved.

The early Christians followed someone who preached about the coming of a kingdom of God on earth, which according to some historians had both a spiritual and a political meaning.

These positive ideas endured until today, due to the intelligence and strength of human beings.

Unfortunately, all the human beings were also deeply hurt by the oppressive societies they lived in. So the good ideas were mixed with distress and in some ways became rigid and even oppressive. For example, the Roman Empire could not defeat the early followers of Jesus, so it made their tradition official and subject to domination by the state and its church.

Throughout the centuries, outside powers have attempted to divide and conquer our peoples. They have not always succeeded. For example, during World War II, when the French Vichy regime, which was collaborating with the Nazis, tried to impose anti-Semitic laws in Morocco, the Moroccan Sultan Mohammed V publicly declined to assist in the persecution of the country’s Jewish citizens. He said, “There are no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccans.”

Unfortunately, many times the policies of division did succeed. During the Crusades, there were violent conflicts between Muslims and Christians. In certain periods during the Ottoman Empire, conflicts between Muslims and Christians continued.

Different groups have dominated at different times. But despite the divide-and-conquer strategy of outside powers, Muslims, Christians, and Jews have also been allies working for a better society.

We all need to heal from the hurtful parts of this history and discharge the distress recordings of oppression. As we eliminate the divisions, with discharge and better policies, and are increasingly united, no outside power will be able to dominate or oppress us again.

Amin Khoury (Victor Nicassio)

Los Angeles, California, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of South, Central, and West Asian-heritage people

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00