Idiot in Maine: Let us ‘stretch out our hand’ to our Muslim brothers and sisters

Violence in the Middle East astounds us with the intensity of its anger and hatred. There appears to be no room for reason and common sense. These horrific happenings impel us to “stretch out our hand” to befriend those of a faith different from our own…

…From my Muslim friends, I have learned that the term “jihad” is widely misunderstood. Among its meanings, “jihad” may refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslim. Among internal efforts are peaceful battles for self-control and improvement. To followers returning from a military campaign, the Prophet Mohammed said, “This day we have returned from minor jihad to major jihad.” Major jihad refers to the peaceful battle for self-control, an internal battle we all share.

Unfortunately, the concept of “jihad” has been hijacked by extremist groups to justify violence. Actually, however, this has been true for extremist groups in each of the major religions: Hindu, Christian, Judaism, Buddhism as well as Islam. This too is our common heritage…

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