From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA: Medley Urges Churches to Reach Out to Muslim Community

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Fri, 14 Jun 2002 16:30:48 -0400

American Baptist News Service (6/14/02)--In response to recent
well-publicized remarks by some religious leaders that have been highly
critical of Islam, American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary A. Roy
Medley is calling on American Baptists to reject such insensitive actions
and to affirm their tradition of respect for people of other religions. 

In a statement issued today, Medley said, "As General Secretary of the
American Baptist Churches, USA, I am deeply saddened by remarks made by some
Baptist leaders and other Christians that have maligned the Islamic faith
and religion.   Historically American Baptists, while deeply committed to
the unique truth of the Christian Gospel, have stood for freedom of
religious expression and practice.  As Baptists we respect the faiths of
others and have benefitted from dialog and cooperative work with people of
other faiths, especially on such issues of common concern as peace and

Medley noted that in November 2001 the General Board of American Baptist
Churches USA issued a declaration of an issue of importance on anti-Islam,
anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice in the U.S. That declaration called on
American Baptists:

(1) To pursue a better understanding of Islam, Muslims and Arabs (including
Arab Christians) by including in their churches' educational programs a
study of Islam, of the Muslim world and the Christian minorities within that
world, and of the issues that have united and divided us by inviting Muslims
and Arabs to be a part of the leadership and fellowship of such programs;
(2) To encourage local and regional ecumenical and interfaith agencies to
seek conversation and cooperation with Muslim religious organizations;
(3) To advocate and defend the civil rights of Arabs and Muslims living in
the U.S. by such means as monitoring organizations and agencies which
exercise responsibility for the peace, welfare and security of the
(4) To reject the religious and political demagoguery and manipulation
manifest in the reporting of events related to the Middle East, to seek an
understanding of the underlying causes of the events, and to condemn
violence as a means of enforcing national will or achieving peace;
(5) To challenge and rebut statements made about Islam, Muslims, and Arabs
that embody religious stereotyping, prejudice and bigotry.

Medley added, "I call this declaration to the attention of our churches
again and urge them to use it as a guide to build better relations with the
Muslim community.  Our Office of Cooperative Christianity is also available
to help direct churches to resources on understanding Islam, and some of
these resources are available online at"


American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (610)768-2077; fax:

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