Dear Muslim friends,
I write today with a sad heart and even – I have to admit – an angry heart.
Just when I thought Donald Trump could stoop no lower in his words and actions, last week he made what I regard to be outlandish, unconstitutional statements about a temporary yet “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States (we will see what he says tonight in the debate).
I know the Syrian refugee immigration issue is complicated. I too want to keep America safe. Nevertheless, I cannot tell you how much Trump’s xenophobic (intense and unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers) rhetoric offends me as a Christian – as one who tries to follow Jesus.
When I hear Donald Trump speak, I hear nothing but insensitivity, boasting, self-promotion, and bravado. My dear Muslim friends, I just want you to know that even though he has claimed to be a Christian himself, in my opinion, his prideful actions and words do not reflect the character of Jesus or the Bible or the Christian faith. Instead, the Bible says clearly:
Jesus told us how to live – and modeled it too. Never did you see Jesus brag or boast or act an arrogant manner. Never did you hear him treat people with such blatant disrespect as Donald Trump has done (there was only one group that Jesus was particularly hard on and that was the religious leaders of his day because of their abhorrent hypocrisy).
My Muslim friends in America, I want you to know that there are many Christians who love you and you are glad that you’re in the U.S. And I want to issue a sincere apology for the behavior of a man who calls himself a Christian but does not act like one regarding the things he has said concerning you.
I also want to apologize for the fact that Muslims in America – since the shootings in San Bernardino – are anxious and afraid of potential revenge by non-Muslim Americans.
I spoke this week to a Muslim friend who is an auto mechanic. His kids grew up in America and they are citizens here. One morning, they were eating breakfast before school and watching the news on TV. They heard the statements of Donald Trump and asked their daddy, “Will he make us leave America?”
This makes me sad and it also makes me angry! I want to help wipe out this kind of fear.
Another dear friend of mine – a Muslim international student – sent me a text message asking me whether he thought it was safe for him and his new wife to travel to California after the San Bernardino shootings. I did not give him an answer but encouraged him to seek the wisdom of God and also to consult his wife about what she thought. He told me he decided not to go. This too makes me sad. And angry. This should not be! Not in America where our country was founded on freedom of religion.
Last week after the San Bernardino shootings, I visited two mosques in Dearborn, Michigan.
They are actually two of the largest mosques in United States. One is Shia and the other is Sunni. As I looked around the predominately Lebanese Shia mosque and observed three different security cars (I’ve never seen them there before), a woman there confessed to me, “We are afraid because of what has happened.” And once again, this hurts me for all the peaceful, loving Muslims that I know – that they have to live in fear of revenge attacks – in America.
So my friends – my dear Muslim friends – please accept my sincere apology for those who say they represent the Prophet Jesus but do not act like him. . .at all.
Jesus loves you.
And so do I.