Imam condemns persecution of Christians in some Muslim countries
Imam condemns prosecution of Christians in the Muslim countries and leads congregation to observe 2 minutes silence for the victims Garissa al-Shabab attack.
Muslims pray collectively every Friday in the Mosque as every Friday is considered a holy day to Muslims. This Friday was also Good Friday,a day which is considered sacred and holy to Christians.
Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, Imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre, dedicated the first part of the Friday sermon to mention the similarities between Islam and Christianity and dedicated the second part of the Friday sermon to condemn the prosecution of Christians.
Shaykh Al-Qadri said in the first part of his sermon that most scholars speak only about the differences between these religions. This is not the method of the Quran. The Quran when mentioning Christianity not only highlights the differences but also the similarities between these 2 faiths. In order to build trust and bridge the gap between these two largest religious communities in the World it is important to emphasize on that what is common between these two faiths.
The believe in one Creator, in the Virgin Mary, the Prophet Jesus, Life after Death are among some of the similarities between Islam and Christianity. Loving the Creator, loving ones neighbor , and charity are also important parts of the 2 faiths.
In the second part of the speech Shaykh Al-Qadri condemned the prosecution and killing of Christians particularly the recent massacre of 147 Christians by militant group Al-Shabaab in Kenia.
Shaykh Al-Qadri said that those who prosecute Christians are ignorant about the teachings of Islam. In 628 AD, a delegation from St. Catherine’s Monastery came to Prophet Muhammad and requested his protection. He granted them protection and provided them with a letter which is called the “Charter of Privileges.” It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
(Please see the text of the Charter of Privileges below)
Shaykh Al-Qadri said that this charter had been honored faithfully applied by Muslims throughout the centuries in all lands they ruled but the rise of radical interpretation of Islam has lead to prosecution of Christians. Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri said also that in Saudi Arabia the radical interpretation of Islam is applied and this is why Christians are not allowed to build churches. Christians and people of all faith should have the right to practise their religion freely. The rise of radical Islam can only be stopped by spreading the true teachings of Islam and eliminating the ignorance that is common among Muslims.
Shaykh Al-Qadri also said it is important that interfaith meetings take place between followers of these 2 faiths. Such meetings take place on leadership level but the message does not reach the worshippers. Most Imams that participate in interfaith meetings do not inform their congregation of such interfaith meetings. To participate in interfaith meetings is important to create dialogue and understanding but this message must reach the grass root levels so it will have positive effect.
The Friday prayers were concluded with the observance of 2 minutes silence for the victims of Garissa al-Shabaab attack.
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Text of the “Charter of Privileges”
This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).
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