Why is there so much animosity between Christians and Muslims?
Though Christianity and Islam both claim to be religions of peace, there has been much animosity between many Christians and Muslims. What are some of the reasons for these attitudes?
Historically, Muslim-led nations and Western nations (which are often viewed as being "Christian nations") have been enemies in many wars. Most notable are the violent Crusades of the Middle Ages.
Currently, some Muslims view Western nations ("Christian nations") as imperialistic and attempting to occupy and dominate historically Muslim lands. Many Muslims also dislike Western support of Israel. Additionally, many Muslims see Western culture as immoral. The values perpetuated in Western society threaten the value systems of Muslim cultures.
Many Westerners, including those who are Christians, have animosity toward Muslims due to acts of terrorism by Muslim extremists. The September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania caused many Westerners to have concerns about Muslims. There are some Muslims who kill in the name of Allah, performing acts of terrorism in their furtherance of jihad. Such acts of terror result in fear, anger, and animosity.
Immigration is also an area of contention between Muslims and Westerners. For example, when many Muslims move to a particular area or city in Spain or Norway and refuse to assimilate, tensions rise. The presence of American military forces or U.N. peacekeepers in a Muslim country is also often seen as imperialism to Muslims.
Aside from these political reasons for animosity, religious disagreement can also be an area of contention. Both Muslims and Christians deeply value their religious beliefs and may take offense when they feel those beliefs are belittled or misunderstood.
Christians are called to love all people regardless of their background. We must stand for truth, but do so in the love of Christ. The Bible calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 19:19), to share the truth of Christ's love with all people (Matthew 28:18-19), and even to love enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). All people are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). Christ came to provide salvation for all who believe (John 3:16) and desires that His people love others without favoritism (James 2:1). The Muslim is not our enemy. "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). Christians are called to be ambassadors of Christ and, as such, should always seek to be filled with both love and truth.
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