The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has sent a message of support and goodwill to Canadian Muslims.
“At the convention, our assembly adopted a Statement to Muslims in Canada,” wrote the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. “We commend this statement and this gesture of good will to you.”
The ‘Statement to Muslims in Canada’ was adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) during its national convention held in the summer.
“At our convention, we recognized that ‘People of the Muslim faith have been singled out for particular forms of hateful, biased and prejudiced treatment.’ and that ‘The tone of some national debate regarding the rights of Muslims in Canada has been troubling.’
“In this context, the “ELCIC feels called to affirm our respect for people of the Muslim faith and for Islam,’” added Rev. Johnson.
“We concluded with the following: ‘The ELCIC challenges members and congregations of the ELCIC to engage in developing respectful, meaningful and mutual relationships with Muslims. The ELCIC encourages use of the 2017 resource Encountering People of Other Faiths: Interfaith Guidelines. We believe that respectful interfaith dialogue can lead to deeper understanding of our own faith. We trust that God will guide us in all that we do.’”
“We fully understand that no statement can substitute for genuine in-person relationships. Still, such relationships must begin somewhere. We hope that our gesture may be interpreted as an expression of our genuine interest in a journey of faithful affirmation with people of goodwill as well as reconciliation for times and places where we have proven ourselves less true to our own faith in our words or deeds.”
Muneeb Nasir, the Muslim Co-Chair of the National Muslim Christian Liaison Committee (NMCLC), has sent a letter of appreciation to Rev. Susan C. Johnson.
“I wish to express my appreciation, and that of the Muslim community, for the affirmation of ELCIC of respect for Islam and Muslims and value the call to ELCIC members and congregations to seek out opportunities for interfaith and intercultural understanding and cooperation,” wrote Muneeb Nasir. “Canadian Muslims are also seeking to deepen understanding between our faith communities and welcome opportunities for cooperation and collaboration.”
“I welcome the statement, which acknowledges that Canadian Muslims have been experiencing biased and prejudiced treatment and that the tone of the discourse in our country has, at times, sought to sow fear of the other,” added Nasir. “In the current conditions, we must seek to affirm the foundational principles of both of our faiths that call us to love the One God and to love our neighbor.”
“May we always appreciate our deep interconnectedness, as common citizens of one Earth, and may our own words and actions, as leaders of the faithful, arise from the depth of prayer.”