DIGBY, NS - Reverend Alex Constable led a group of nearly 20 people Mar. 16 in a discussion about learning about Islam, and dispelling misconceptions, at the Grace United Church Hall.
The session, titled ‘Misconceptions About Islam,’ focused on why negative narratives surround Islam and their origins, referencing works like the Chronicles of Narnia and music written by Mozart in which negative depictions of Muslims stem from.
It then moved on to discussing Islam and women, and featured interviews with educated Muslim women who spoke about how the religion is not anti-woman.
After the video wrapped up, Constable opened the floor to a discussion about the religion. Here is what some people had to say:
No religion is perfect
Several people mentioned people who identify as Christians have also committed atrocities in the name of religion.
One person said “Christianity has also committed crimes in the past. Look at the crusades, but also much more recently the residential schools, where so many Aboriginal children were forced to convert.”
Another said “the Irish Republican Army in Ireland is also an example of how Christianity has terrorized people.”
The point these people were getting across was that even though many religions have violent and cruel pasts, it does not mean that people who believes in that religion should be villainized because of it.
More similar than different
Many people also pointed out the similarities between faiths, especially the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.
“We all share the Old Testament, and Abraham exists in all three religions,” said one person.
“Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet,” said another.
“True Christians and true Muslims all believe in peace and respect,” said another.
O.K. to respectfully agree to disagree
“It is obvious that there are fundamental differences between our religions,” said Constable, “and that’s ok, but we can still believe different things and respect each other at the end of the day.”
Another person added that Muslims are people, just like Christians are.
“They too laugh, and they too have moments of doubt,” they said.
“We shouldn’t look at people from a religious point of view,” said another person.
This event marked the second session of the series of discussions called ‘The Jesus Fatwah: Loving Your Muslim Neighbour as Yourself.’ The sessions will continue to be held each Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Grace United Church Hall until April 5.