American flag waving in blue skyWritten by Don Byrd

The Center for American Progress has compiled statements from leaders of diverse faith communities concerned about recent anti-Muslim rhetoric. Included are the thoughts of the Baptist Joint Committee’s Brent Walker. 

Here is an excerpt:

Common sense, as well as Christian charity, tells us that it is wrong to scapegoat — to blame an entire religion for the despicable acts of a handful of murderous outliers who claim that religious affiliation. All of Islam cannot be blamed for aberrant acts of criminals motivated by a perverted understanding of their religion, just as all of Christendom cannot be blamed for violence spawned over the years by the Ku Klux Klan.

Read the whole statement, as well as those of other faith leaders here.

In the newest issue of Report From the Capital, the BJC’s Holly Hollman builds on that theme in  urging us to condemn violence, not religion:

We must condemn all violence in the name of any religion, acknowledging the threats within any tradition that can lead to violence.  We must encourage our leaders to reject efforts that misplace blame for violence as inherent in religion. As the evangelical and politically conservative columnist Michael Gerson warned in a Washington Post column, failure to do so will be counter-productive:  “All our efforts are undermined by declaring Islam itself to be the enemy, and by treating Muslims in the United States, or Muslims in Europe, or Muslims fleeing Islamic State oppression, as a class of suspicious potential jihadists. … [I]f U.S. politicians define Islam as the problem and cast aspersions on Muslim populations in the West, they are feeding the Islamic State narrative.”

Read the column here.