Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) is a key figure in Islam. We believe that he will once again return to earth to unite all nations and bring complete peace and justice for all creation. We believe that Jesus was a Muslim, one that submits to God. We believe in the virgin birth of Jesus from Mary, a pious woman who is almost always depicted with a headscarf. An entire chapter in the Qu’ran, Maryam, is about her.
It is because of these similarities that Christians and Muslims have been able to live together side-by-side for 1,400 years in countries like Ethiopia, Syria and Lebanon. A few days ago, the “Islamic State” released a video showing the killing of 30 Ethiopian Christians, who were migrant workers in Libya.
This goes against 1,400 years of peaceful coexistence. The “Islamic State” is trying to refute history. Trying to refute the way Islam has been practiced for over a millennium, the way Islam is practiced every day in devotion and compassion given by God for our fellow humans. In the Qu’ran we are taught that the notion of God having a son or being incarnate in a human is inappropriate. God is beyond our comprehension and does not have human characteristics. Jesus, like the others, was a messenger sent from God. We don’t believe in his crucifixion. We don’t believe his death occurred.
In Chapter Nine of the Qu’ran it says:
“And for their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”
And just because of these differences does not mean our two faiths cannot flourish as one community. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Christians were invited to come to the mosque and exchange in dialogue. They did their worship to Jesus in the mosque. This was between them and God. It was not and still is not our affair. As it says in the Qu’ran, “Allah is the ultimate judge.”
Muslims can coexist with any other religion. Groups like IS have hijacked our faith. We are required to love our neighbors and show compassion towards one another. The nature of our tradition is mercy, forgiveness and submission to God. We are one people, and we all bleed red.