by Rick Love

In the fall of 2007 I facilitated a discussion of evangelicals about torture at a conference in Washington DC. This marked my transition into peacemaking. It also led to me to join Evangelicals for Human Rights – a group focused on speaking out against torture.

Because of this, I was happy when the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report came out this week and exposed the brutal and unfruitful interrogation tactics of the CIA. I understand the good intentions of the CIA and am grateful that our government works overtime to protect us from terrorist attacks. But torture is illegal, ineffective, and immoral.

The CIA used evil tactics in their attempt to defeat evil. So the war on terror became the war of terror. In doing so, the United States lost any high moral ground that we might have had. We also lost credibility with the Muslim community – a key resource to help us topple terrorism.

Scripture teaches that the role of the government is to praise what is good and punish what is evil (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:13-14). So the U.S. government needs to be held accountable for this evil. As the Evangelical Declaration Against Torture affirms, we need to protect human rights in the age of terror.

JenniferBryson-640x360So how can we protect human rights and avert future terrorist attacks? My friend Jennifer Bryson has written what I believe is the best summary of these issues. Jennifer earned a Ph.D. in Islamics at Yale University, serves on the board of Peace Catalyst International, and was an interrogator at Guantanamo Bay.

The issues related to torture and interrogation cannot be grasped with a few sound bites. So get a cup of coffee and take the time to read what an expert says.

Read her full article here.

(As we continue to work to promote human rights like these and other issues related to peacemaking, we value your support. Would you consider a donation to our Waging Peace Fund before December 31?)

 

by Thomas Davis

Last month, in partnership with Fellowship of Christ (our wonderful church), the lovely Carrie and I and our Peace Catalyst crew hosted a Muslim-Christian Thanksgiving Gathering. It was a huge success!

In hopes of building bridges of friendship and partnership between Muslims and Christians in the Raleigh area, we moved our family here in July of 2011. Three and a half years later, we continue to marvel at God’s favor. He has blessed us with deep, beautiful friendships in both the Christian and Muslim communities here, and we treasure these relationships as amazing gifts from Him.

So when we decided to host a Thanksgiving bash, we invited key friends and thought we might squeeze 20-30 folks in our home for the event. As RSVPs rolled in, however, we realized we needed to move the gathering to a larger facility, and Fellowship of Christ graciously came to our rescue. When all was said and done, the crowd of 60+ filled the church sanctuary. More than 30 of our Muslim friends, representing several different area mosques, blessed us with their presence, and we had almost as many Christians from a number of different churches. It was a beautiful, wonderful evening!

As always in all our relationships and events, our goals were as follows:

To help Muslims and Christians begin and deepen authentic friendships that lead to laughing together, lamenting together, loving together, and generally “doing life” together in one another’s hearts and homes.

To love all our guests well in the way of Jesus by practicing grace and hospitality and by putting the interests of others ahead of our own and by humbly considering others as better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-11).

To model this hospitality and humility by helping Christians learn how to prepare food that is acceptable (halal) for our Muslim guests, both so that Christian are better equipped to empathize with and understand Muslims and so that Muslims can eat with a clear conscience.

To find new ways to work together to defeat all expressions of extremism, terrorism, and hatred.

In word and deed, to invite all our friends, both Christian and Muslim, to embrace Jesus as the Messiah who came to make the way for us to be at peace with God and with our fellow humans.

Here is this beautiful gathering in images:

 

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The halal potluck meal

 

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Beautiful ethnic diversity around the table!

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Our Hannah Beth and a young friend enjoying the always kind and fun “Uncle” Jihad, who brought a huge birthday cake so we could celebrate (with singing in Arabic and English) Hannah Beth’s birthday and that of Jihad’s adult son. A couple years ago, Jihad and I had jury duty together. He joked with me, saying, “I am an Arab Muslim and my name is Jihad. They’ll never select me for a trial!” He was right. I LOVE this guy!

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Our Nathaniel (black shirt) and his pal Aidan (in orange) blessed my socks off by readily inviting these Turkish boys to eat and later play Ewoks with them! In their wake, we discovered a lot of Ewok name badges and a fairly cool fort!

 

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One of the Turkish families brought “Noah’s pudding,” a traditional dish thought to mimic one Noah and his family enjoyed after the flood.

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Fellowship of Christ folks chatting with friends from Turkey and Morocco

 

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Fellowship of Christ’s Bill King flanked by leaders of a nearby mosque. These men are eager to join us in forging a formal partnership between their mosque and our church. We hope to start with a series of Love Your Neighbor Dinners (meals shared in both the mosque and church facilities), joint service projects, and perhaps a couple Quick To Listen events.

 

Thank you God for giving us the gift of friends. We feel like we receive far more blessing than we give, from both our Muslim friends and our Christian friends!

 

More from Thomas at www.incomparabletreasure.com

Television and news media are filled with talk about terrorism, and fear is on the rise. But should we be as fearful of terrorism as we are? This report offers a new perspective based on solid research. What are your thoughts?

 

 Originally posted at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/11/24/how-worried-should-we-be-about-terrorism/?iref=allsearch

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by Nick and Laura Armstrong

“After spending the day with a newly-arrived Muslim family from Darfur, Lynda Evenson looked at me and said, “Well, I’m hooked! I had a wonderful time with Mohammed and his family. His wife is beautiful, and his children are as cute as they can be!” Lynda and her husband Rudy are members of our first Friendship Partner Team. Friendship Partner Teams are made up of people who love Jesus and are committed to welcoming new refugee families being resettled in Boise, Idaho. This commitment is made with the hope of helping our new friends adjust to life in America and build lasting friendships.

Laura and I are currently facilitating an eight-part training course for people who are interested in being part of a Friendship Partner Team or would like to help a newly-arriving family with a more bite-sized commitment like helping to furnish their apartment, tutor English, drive them to appointments, take them shopping, or help them learn a new skill like painting a house. The training includes modules on building cross-cultural relationships and building bridges with people of other faiths. More than 70% of the people who come to Boise as refugees are Muslims from countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Eritrea, the Sudan, and Iraq, so there is a great opportunity for the church to ‘wage peace’ in our own city!

Some of our new friends will also become involved in our church’s International Garden plots, where they can grow a variety of different vegetables to promote healthy diets and reduce the monthly grocery bill. We also hope to have some of our new Muslim friends participate in Peace Feasts, where Muslim and Christians share meals and learn more about each other’s lives. Our first Peace Feast was held on Thanksgiving Day as Mohammed and his family and two other Muslim families joined us for a traditional but Halal Thanksgiving meal!

PCI’s Martin Brooks has been making a series of short video interviews with his friend Imam Wasif. They discuss a wide range of issues concerning Christian-Muslim relations, and today they talk about what happens after death according to Islam.

Find more from Martin on his blog.