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An open letter from the SCV's Muslims

SCV Voices

Posted: October 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: October 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

It is with sincere gratitude that we, the Muslims of Santa Clarita Valley, received the open letter delivered to us by Grace Baptist Church of Santa Clarita Sept. 9 and published in The Signal on Sept. 11.

The letter was in support of the Muslims of Santa Clarita Valley and against the ghastly plan of burning the Qur’an in Florida on Sept. 11 by Terry Jones. In addition to Grace Baptist Church of Santa Clarita, the following churches were
signatories on that letter:

- Evangelical Free Church of the Canyons
- Heart of the Canyons Church
- Santa Clarita Baptist Church
- Cornerstone Church SCV
- Placerita Baptist Church
- Crossroads Community Church
- Faith Community Church

We truly appreciate the gesture of interfaith religious brotherhood that you all have expressed in the letter.

Please know that we do not see the actions of Terry Jones as a reflection on all of Christianity.

It is unfortunate that this incident was given so much coverage by the national and international media, and the true nature of the founding principles of our nation that all of you represent will not be given the same coverage that it deserves.

In our meeting with Mike Gaston of Grace Baptist Church, we mutually agreed that no religion in the world condones such an egregious action as to harm another’s religious book or malign others’ teachings.

Indeed, Islam teaches its followers to be tolerant of each other, given the infinite mercy of God: “So whoever follows me, he is surely of me; and whoever disobeys me, You (O God) surely are forgiving, merciful.” (14:36)

The above prayer by Abraham to God almighty teaches us how one should be accepting of others and not reject even those who disobey him.

It is not for us humans to judge each other; it is only God who is the ultimate judge, and only God is allowed to do this.

Islam affords the ultimate freedom of conscience in human beings. Freedom of belief, in the eyes of Islam, is an inalienable right.

This freedom forms a part of the divine covenant made with Adam in the following words: “We said: go forth from this state, all. Surely there will come to you guidance from me, then whoever follows my guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.” (2:38)

Indeed, the ultimate teaching in tolerance mentioned in the Qur’an is 2:256: “There is no compulsion in religion.”

In closing, we pledge to follow these and similar teachings in the Qur’an, and to voice our opinion against oppression or persecution of any kind, and to all people.

Once again, it is with a sense of immense gratitude that we acknowledge your initiative in reaching out and asserting that actions of a few are by and large not representative of a larger faith-based community.

We hope that this brief meeting will be a harbinger of many meetings to come where we may be able to discuss each others’ commonalities rather than dwell on differences.

Together, we can build a better, mutually inclusive community that is the Santa Clarita Valley.

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