An interesting comment which I have now heard from both a Jewish Rabbi and a Catholic Priest. The Jewish Rabbi has changed his mind because he attended a JCMA conference and met some of “those people”. Hopefully too the Catholic Priest is in the process of revising his opinion–with my encouragement, of course!
“Those people” are, of course, the Muslims. And I can’t understand for the life of me how a full quarter of the world’s population can be dimissed as untrustworthy simply because of their religion. Of course there are some who can’t be trusted. Just as there are people all over the world of all religions (and none) to whom I wouldn’t trust with my lunch money let alone anything more valuable. But step one in building a better and more harmonious future is: Trust.
And the best way to build trust is to get to know “those people”. A trip to Turkey is a good way of doing this (where you may conclude that you can’t understand “those people”, but you will nevertheless make a lot of extremely trustworthy friends), but for the fiscally challenged there is always JCMA: The Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia. Our 4th Annual residential conference is coming up in July (2-5), and it is the single best way to mix with other Australian Christians, Jews and Muslims I know of. I’ve been to all three so far and can heartily recommend it. Check them out at their website and get your application in now!
And just in case you thought that Jews and Christians are the real target of militant Jihadists (ie. the one’s you really can’t trust), you might find this article by the Italian Muslim academic Khaled Fouad Allam (“A totalitarian Islam”) illuminating.