Just as Lent was beginning with the call to Christians to follow Jesus into the desert for 40 days of fasting, praying and almsgiving, New York Rep. Peter King, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, held a hearing on Muslim Americans.
On that day we read Isaiah 58:1-9a where Isaiah tells us of the true fasting God prefers, a fasting that demands social justice, including a fast from false accusation and malicious speech. On that same day, Rep. King’s hearing singled out Muslim Americans because of their faith and blamed them for terrorism.
We must not let politicians use their power to promote fear and suspicion of a particular religious community. We must not isolate and scapegoat millions of law-abiding Muslim Americans. Remember, on 9/11 Muslim Americans also died in the Twin Towers and their mosque was destroyed.
While terrorism is a reality, people of all faiths need to work together to end terrorism and create an appreciation of cultural and religious diversity.
Perhaps a first step for Christians is to pray for a global heart, a heart big enough to embrace the other, the stranger, the whole world.