Freedom of religion in Islamic history is not merely a theory or a figment of our imagination. It is a historical reality. Consider the following examples:
- When the Christians of Najran visited Muhammad’s mosque in Medina
- When the Abyssinian King welcomed Muslim refugees during the first hijra
- When the Jews and Muslims came together and agreed to the Constitution of Medina
But these stories of inclusion, cooperation, and justice among people of diverse faiths are not merely historical facts. They are contemporary realities. Stories that strengthen our community are unfolding every single day, but they oftentimes unfold during our darkest hours.
Consider, for a moment, the number of Jewish organizations in the Bay Area in California that showed up to mosques to lend their support after the Christchurch, New Zealand attack.
Consider the recent story of Imam Abu-Bakr Abdullahi of Nigeria who hid 262 Christian farmers inside his mosque and refused to give them up to Muslim extremists that were attempting to kill Christians.
Consider the Muslims who raised over $250,000 dollars for the victims of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Notice that all three of these events centered around violence. Violence, or the threat of violence, is obviously our most serious concern, but unfortunately there appears to be a laundry list of other issues too.
How can we find ways to engage in acts of solidarity and inclusion during times of calm and peace?