Posts Tagged ‘passover’

Good Friday and Easter Sunday

I write this at a key point in the Christian calendar, between ‘Good Friday’, when Christians remember the death of Jesus, who was crucified by the Roman authorities, and Easter Sunday, when Christians look forward again to celebrating his resurrection. It is the most Christian time of year, less secular than Christmas, despite the vast quantities of Easter eggs we sweet-toothed Brits consume.
It can also be seen as the time when Christians and Muslims part company, our ‘nativity’ stories have much in common but when it comes to the end of Jesus’ life, the Quran’s story of him has already finished, except to look forward to his return. The key Christian beliefs about Jesus – crucifixion, atonement, resurrection, ascension – are as distinctive, and divisive, as the second part of the shahadah (the Muslim statement of faith) – ‘and Muhammad is the Messenger of God’.

What happens when we differ and disagree?

The Christian Muslim Forum recently shared these differences together with a dialogue on Jesus and Muhammad, it felt good to share what was precious to us, deeply and controversially, but also genuinely and gently. Our relationships grew and deepened as we explored what distinguishes our religions and we were drawn together through better understanding. Our beliefs don’t make us enemies, ideology does that.

I was reminded this week by a non-religious friend that getting on with Muslims, or Christians, is no big deal. Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy, those who know each other do get on well; for others there can be all kinds of myths, stereotypes and prejudices. As the Christian Muslim Forum our ultimate aim is that relations between Christians and Muslims, and with wider society, are no longer troubled by the difficulties that exist today, some of which we read about regularly in the media, especially in hotspots like Nigeria.

On Good Friday in Nottingham, challenging various perceptions, the churches’ walk of witness, carrying a cross, again passed Dr Musharraf Hussain’s mosque where they were welcomed and Christians and Muslims prayed alongside each other. We hope to share more of this story soon. Also, in the run-up to Easter, Dr Ida Glaser of the Christian-Muslim Study Centre in Oxford dialogued with Mehdi Hassan on the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

The Christian Muslim Forum will be continuing to build Christian-Muslim friendships during Spring and Summer:

Being a Faith School, London, 28 April 2010
Social Attitudes Seminar, London, 11 May 2010
Men’s Retreat – Following in the Footsteps of Abraham, nr Chester, 4-6 June 2010
Friends and Neighbours in the West Midlands, Coventry, 30 June – 1 July 2010

Booking will go live for the retreat and West Midlands events soon, please click on the links to reserve a place or express an interest. We will be inviting people to attend our seminar on the British Social Attitudes Survey, please click on the link if you are interested in this.

Happy Easter and belated Passover greetings to Jewish friends.

Julian Bond