- Written by Nadim Nassar
There has rarely, if ever, been a better time for Christians to demonstrate the wonderful qualities that lie at the heart of our faith. Now is the time to act, to shine the love of God on the troubles of the world!
It's incredibly sad to see that most of the Christian denominations are in deep sleep in Europe. It is as though what is happening in other parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, does not concern them despite the fact that we live in a shrinking world in every way.
The churches are mostly ambivalent to the enormous changes that the relationships between world religions are going through. In my wide interfaith experience in London, nationally and internationally, I think that Islam (especially Shi'a Islam) is the religion that is most actively responding to the globalised, ever-changing world.
As I observe what occupies the time of many churches, I feel despair because Christians seem almost detached from the world - they hardly ever respond in any intelligent way to anything happening outside their own front doors! Christian-Muslim relations are being redefined worldwide due to the Arab Spring, especially through the raging war in Syria, while churches in this country have done too little to initiate a major public dialogue with Muslims to discuss ways to identify problems and work towards finding solutions. Even after what happened in Woolwich, I was shocked to see the lack of adequate action from the Christian denominations. I expected an urgent meeting of Christian church leaders to discuss the global phenomenon of religious fanaticism, particularly Islamic hard-line fundamentalism which is spreading all over the world. What are we waiting for? I am not surprised that so many people are disappointed by the complacency of the different churches and their poor way in dealing with the present world problems.
The leaders of our faith are too afraid to offend, so too often we cower away from 'difficult' issues like Islamic fundamentalism! We are not doing enough - it is time that we woke up and recognised the real challenges that the world is facing. We must be constantly alert, and always ready to find ways to support our communities and our neighbours when they suffer at the hands of religious fanaticism. We should be challenging, inspiring, positive and creative. Unless we look the problem in the eye, we will never have the courage to deal with it. It is time that we show the strong leadership that our people expect and give our troubled communities substantial support and direction, working hand-in-hand with other faiths to stop a tiny minority who seek to hijack their whole faith!