Make Peace

The Christian's best option is love.

Christians and Muslims in America have an image problem. The rest of the world sees us as intolerant, belligerent, prideful, nationalistic, and extremist. As the daughter of Christian and Muslim parents, I feel like a kid stuck in a bad marriage, trying to salvage my parent’s reputation and begging them to get along. As a child I remember feeling conflicted in a home that followed two religions and suffering shame after the 1979 hostage crisis. Today I encounter this drama played in our country.

The Fort Hood killings of 13 American service men by Major Nidal Hasan became my watershed experience. I’d lived in the Middle East and Europe and been accustomed to bombings and religious unrest, but I couldn’t fathom such horror happening in the U.S. Not in my homeland, where Muslims and Christians have lived peacefully.

Tragically, this conflict, along with 9-11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, perpetuates a climate of religious polarization. It’s launched a backlash against innocent Muslims and made Christians—in the eyes of many—look like bullies. It’s blurred the lines between many peaceful Muslims and the dangerous ideologues. Unfortunately, many otherwise caring Christians have not acknowledged the difference between them.

We can’t afford to repeat the last decade. We desperately need a new generation of American Christian and Muslim leaders, who embody our nations’ decency, to stand up and show the world that we can overcome our fury and work toward reconciliation, accountability and mutual respect.

Some 1.2 billion Muslims believe that America is at war with Islam. This climate of war emboldens radical ideologues, giving them a foothold to recruit young jihadis (some of ...

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