In other periods of history, this group would have made unlikely bedfellows.
The first is a small Jewish community that has always been against the oppression of Palestinians.
The second is a small group of Muslims who are opposed to the fundamentalist definition of "jihad" as military struggle rather than as the interior struggle to be holy.
The third is a small group of Christians who have no doubts about the sins of Christianity against both these communities and, even more, a memory of Francis of Assisi, who in the midst of a Crusade against Egypt, crossed the battle lines to talk to Sultan Malik al-Kamil.
Francis, to convert the Egyptians, tried to strike a bargain: He would go into a fiery furnace and, if he came out alive, the Egyptians would convert to Christianity. Al-Kamil's answer to Francis was a gentle and a wise one. Gambling with one's life, he argued, is not a valid proof of one's God. Then, both of them wiser, he spared Francis' life and sent him on his way again.
Like Francis, these people have decided to do what their governments won't do. They are stepping across battle lines.
They are reaching out as friends to one another in formal, public ways. They are listening to the spirit in the heart of the other.
They call their project The October Surprise. The surprise is that the Jewish High Holy Days, the Islamic Month of Ramadan and the Christian feast of St. Francis of Assisi who opposed the Crusades and learned from an Islamic teacher, all come in October.
Check out the Tent of Abraham web site for more information. I like "Abrahamic convergence" better than "October Surprise" though :)
DiscussionPost a Comment
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About City of Brass
City of Brass was originally launched in March 2002 under the name UNMEDIA. The blog focuses on issues related to muslims in the West. The primary author is Aziz Poonawalla, a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS). Also see the technical blog, entitled Khidmat is not a zero-sum game, detailing the open-source infrastructure behind our community web portal, mumineen.org.