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Peace Theology of the Qur'an

 

Mike Branch 11-30-08

 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

 

Mike Branch is an American-born citizen and business person who converted to the Muslim faith approximately 16 years ago. He is active in the Muslim Educational Trust and serves on its advisory board.

 

His passion is to work to promote a better sense of understanding between people of different faith, primarily between Muslims and Christians. He promotes a concept of 'Breaking Bread' together where people sit down for common dinners to share their spiritual thoughts and insights.

 

He acknowledged that the majority of U.S. muslims are foreign born, and urged the audience to help the muslims feel comfortable with practicing their religion amidst our western culture. For example, he mentioned that it is very painful for muslims to be in a U.S. hospital and not have assurance of acccess to muslim religious leaders as a matter of routine.

 

On the concept of 'Neighbors,' he defined it as 'Anyone else,' and spoke to the conflicting idea that 'people can love God while also hating their neighbor.' He urged people to 'develop peace and justice within ourselves, so we can end violence within our families and between oneanother.' He said we ought to 'speak the truth' even if it goes against our own self interest, because 'we will be called into account.'

 

In distinguishing between individual muslims and the broader Islam Regious movement he called the audience to acknowledge that Christianity also has its ultra-right extremists, just as Islam has its militant adherents.

 

According to a muslim's faith, he indicated that 'killing even one person is like killing all humans.' He urged the audience to consider the cocnept of Forgiveness.

 

He briefly mentioned that the group of young muslims in North Portland who were charged under the Home Land Security Act as terrorists, in his opinion were framed.

 

See link:

 

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/port-d09.shtml

 

During the Q & A period he was asked to share his opinion about the way muslims had issued death threats agains the Danish cartoonist who had made fun of the muslim faith. His first remark indicated that 'had the cartoonist lived in an Arabian country he would have been killed.'

 

This revelation brought sharp critiques from the audience; several members of the audience felt this violated the concept of 'right to free speech,' and stood in remarkable contrast to his professed passion to further neighborly behavior. There was a sense that, perhaps, the urge to create respect for muslims' practices and beliefs was not entirely a balanced cultural concept. Especially in the context of muslims who were born outside western lands and cultures, and have chosen to immigrate to western countries for economic survival.

 

It appeared that several members of the audience held muslim immigrants ought to accept, for example, the Western cultures' practices of free speeech, even where it meant familiarizing themselves with the concept of humour, and its practice in the public forum as pointed cartoons. After all, even Jesus has been featured somewhat disrespectful in many cartoons and public opinion pieces.

 

The Muslim Educational Trust and other associated groups can be accessed at the following links:

 

How Little We Know About Religion-Oregon Editorial

 

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/04/how_little_we_k.html

 

Religions of The World

 

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/religion/

 

Muslim Unity Foundation

 

http://www.muftrust.com/index.html

 

Islam Books:

 

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Audio_Visual/Islamic_Books_12760.html

 

http://kitaabun.com/shopping3/product_info.php?products_id=787

 

Muslim countries of the World:

 

http://members.tripod.com/arabicpaper/country.html

 

Europe.

 

http://www.muslim-ed-trust.org.uk/

 

Portland, Oregon.

 

http://web2.userinstinct.com/36667323-muslim-educational-trust.htm

 

The Pluralism Project

 

http://www.pluralism.org/research/profiles/display.php?profile=73551

 

Religious practices in UK

 

http://www.islamfortoday.com/christian_re.htm

Posted by PMC Adult Forum at 4:24 PM

 

http://pmcadultforum.blogspot.com/2008/12/peace-theology-of-quran-mike-branch.html

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