Loving God = Stop The Hate

By: Rev. Jacqui Lewis, PhD

On a day as hot as this one, I went to a mosque in Muscat, Oman. A mosque as blue as the sea, as stunning as a September sky. The mosque sits in the desert, built from devotion, piety, obedience.

With shoes off, and head covered, I opened the door to enter this mosque, an oasis for prayer in the desert. A fresh breath of cool air blew on my face—the love of Allah a palpable breeze, a tender embrace. I knelt, I prayed, I stood gazing upon the carved wood, the beauty of this space.

My colleagues told me that I am a muslim, that we are, all of us, muslims with a lowercase “m.” They said we are called into obedience, into relationship with our One God. I, a black Christian American clergywoman—a muslim.

My scripture tells me that I can’t love God, who is unseeable, unless I love my brother and sister who are. My scripture says loving God means loving neighbor and self.

And so, my muslim, Christian heart is broken today. My brothers—Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin—were gunned down in cold blood. Their deaths grieve me. The anti-Muslim rhetoric in our nation grieves me. Obeying our One God means to stop the hate.