BRIDGEPORT — About a dozen right-wing Christians, carrying placards and yelling “Islam is a lie,” angrily confronted worshippers outside a Fairfield Avenue mosque Friday.
“Jesus hates Muslims,” they screamed at worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque to prepare for the holy week of Ramadan. One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. “Murderers,” he shouted.
Police arrived on the scene to separate the groups, but said no arrests were made.
Flip Benham, of Dallas, Texas, organizer of the protest, was yelling at the worshipers with a bullhorn.
“This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country,” he said.
Mustafa Salahuddin, an Ansonia police officer and parishioner at the mosque, calmly watched the protesters from the mosque’s parking area.
“This is unfortunate, but it’s a free country,” he commented on the protest. “But I believe Jesus would have been appalled by this. We revere Jesus the same way they do.”
After about an hour the protesters packed up their placards and fliers into a couple of vans and drove off.
What I found most amusing – in the midst of the sadness of it all – is the claim that these people made: “Jesus hates Muslims.” Really? How do they know? Did he tell them? If this be true, that would indeed be news, for, Muslims love Jesus. One cannot be a Muslim without belief in and reverence for Jesus Christ. He is mentioned more by name in the Quran than the Prophet Muhammad himself. There is an entire chapter of the Quran named after his mother the Virgin Mary.
The story of his birth is told twice in the Quran (3:42-47 and 19:16-33). In addition to the story of the birth, the Quran recounts how Jesus spoke in his infancy (3:46 and 19:29-33), healed the blind, those stricken with leprosy, and raised the dead back to life (5:110). The Quran even mentions that Jesus used to fashion birds out of clay and breathe life into them, all by the permission of God Almighty (3:49). In addition, the Quran recounts the story of what seems to be the Last Supper (5:112-116).
The Quran describes Jesus as being “honored in the world and the hereafter, and one of the intimates of God” (3:45) and “in the ranks of the righteous” (6:85). He is also described as “a word, from God, which God sent down to Mary, [and] a spirit from him” (4:171) and that Jesus was “strengthened with the Holy Spirit” (2:253, 5:110). Classical commentators have interpreted the “Holy Spirit” to mean either divine inspiration or the Angel Gabriel.
Why would Jesus hate Muslims when we Muslims love him so very much? Why would Jesus hate Muslims if we Muslims claim him as one of our own? Why would Jesus hate me as a Muslim when I wrote this poem in his and his mother’s honor?
What was it like, when you stood there alone?
Praying in the East, on you His Light ever shone?
What was it like, when the angel came before thee?
Frightening you greatly, shattering your tranquility?
What was it like, when you were told the news?
That unto you was born the Messiah of the Jews.
Did you not know, that you were more than worthy?
That God chose you above all, that He favored you greatly?
Did you not know, that before you came to be,
The Lord already declared that magnificent were thee?
What was it like, when the Spirit was blown?
When our master was conceived, a miracle to be shown.
What was it like, as you left in fear?
Afraid of the slander that may be placed in the ear?
How did it feel, when the pangs came in earnest?
Did you feel deserted, that the Lord had no interest?
What did it sound like, when our master to you spoke?
How soothing was his voice, covering you like a cloak?
How sweet was the fruit that fell from the tree?
Did it comfort your mind, fill you with tranquility?
How sharp were the stares when, with him, you arrived?
Did their shock give you pain, that they would think you would connive?
How powerful was his voice, when he proclaimed the truth?
Were they amazed by his grace, as he shattered the lies of the uncouth?
O Blessed Mother, upon you I perpetually pray for peace.
And also upon your son, I pray blessings cover him as a fleece.
And if, O Blessed Soul, I get a chance to kiss your hand,
It would be the most honored place I could ever stand.
Clearly, these people have no idea what is in our scripture and our faith about Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. Clearly, these people have no idea about Islam in general. Otherwise, they would not descend upon a mosque and yell at people going to worship the very same God upon Whom Jesus Christ called. I know that Jesus doesn’t hate me, because, I love him so very much. And it was none other than my faith that made me, and all my other fellow Muslims, fall in love with him. If only these supposed followers of Christ knew this.