A Stand Against Extremism

DAY 23 – JUNE 28th, 2016

Luton: A Stand Against Extremism

About 40 miles north of London, England lies the city of Luton. Over 25{1ef34f8f1cacfdc6c19f5319e487deec2393c82eacea09a13da7feed1a24e305} of Luton’s 215,000 people are Muslim. Since the 1990’s Luton has rather unfairly been known as a place of Muslim extremism, but more recently also of anti-Muslim extremism.

In March 2009, following a protest at a British Army parade by a small group of Muslim extremists the town was filled with threats and demonstrations and a mosque was fire-bombed. A group called the English Defense League (EDL) was formed to demonstrate against Muslims and soon spread across the nation.

A local church community worker with a call to peace-building named Peter Adams witnessed the chaos and the rise of hatred against Muslims. He spoke with church leaders and Muslim friends who, like most of the Muslim community, totally condemned and opposed all Islamic extremism. Two months later, standing alongside the Imam of the firebombed mosque, with Christian and Muslim leaders at a press conference covered on national news they made a commitment:

30Days-pray-28jun16“… these groups do not represent the majority of our community. As Muslims and Christians in Luton we are committed to grow in understanding of each other and to work together for good. In doing so we are inspired by words that lie at the heart of each of our Holy Scriptures where we are commanded to love God and our neighbor. As neighbors in this town we will work to discover the things that unite us and celebrate those. Where we are different we are committed to seek understanding and trust, rather than resorting to hatred and strife. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to one another, and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill.”

That commitment has held, and grown.  While the EDL has been a force for division, the friendship between faith and community leaders is growing and has allowed difficult issues to be addressed.

Peter is clear:  “In a time where many are convinced that Islam and Christianity will only ever clash, I’m determined to point to another way. Sadly, Christian voices are often quoted in support of conflict. We must find another way! My Muslim friends know I am passionate about my faith, and respect me for it. They know I’d love to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ.  But Christ will be the loser if Christians are known for hatred and fear.”

How to Pray

  • 1 John 4:18 says “Perfect loves drives out fear.” Repent of fear and ask God to fill you and your community with love for Muslims.
  • Pray for opportunities to challenge the negative stereotypes of Muslims that are everywhere.
  • Pray for opportunities to show love to Muslims you encounter as neighbors and fellow citizens.

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