Welcome to the website of A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice (CCME) of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Here you will find information about the Center, its activities, and resources for understanding Islam and our Muslim neighbors.
Mission Statement: A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice (CCME) at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) fosters and deepens relations between Christians and Muslims as a significant part of its larger purpose of building bridges of mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among people of all faiths.
Vision: CCME was founded on the conviction that Christians, Muslims, and neighbors of other faith traditions, in their co-humanity, created by and responsible before God, are called to know, respect and learn from one another, despite or even because of our differences.
We, the staff of A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, are deeply concerned about the executive order issued by the Trump administration on Friday, January 27, restricting the entry of immigrants, refugees and other travelers into the U.S., singling out and banning Muslims from seven countries. We find this order disturbing, and not only for the quick and unconsultative way in which it was formulated and announced. It goes against our religious values, what we know about Islam and Muslims, and our understanding of what has made America a sought-out destination for many people around the world—a land of freedom and opportunity that benefits greatly from its diversity. The executive order projects an image of being fearful and closed to the world that is grounded in reductionist views of Islam and stereotypes of Muslims.
We at CCME strive to project a different image. As Christians, our scriptures teach us: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself,..” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35, 40). In the letter to the Hebrews we read, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). Our Muslim neighbors are similarly encouraged by their scriptures, the Qur’an, to do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors near and far, and travelers (Q. 4:36). Our extensive experience of engaging with Muslims, including Muslims from the seven countries identified in the executive order, has not at all served to engender fear. Rather, it has fostered friendship, respect and appreciation amid, even because of, differences. The scriptural injunctions cited above and our experience of engaging with Muslims embolden us to stand in friendship and solidarity with all immigrants, refugees, and our Muslim neighbors.
We are concerned that the Trump administration¹s solution for addressing terrorism will bring further alienation and violence rather than security. Already, innocent people are being caught up in the web of suspicion.
Here are some suggestions for things to do:
Learn about the executive order and what implications it has for Muslims in particular. Muslim Advocates along with the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at PennState Law, have produced a community guidance and fact sheet on the executive order here:
Community Guidance: Restrictions on Muslim Entry to the U.S.
Voice your opinions by contacting authorities and participating in public actions.
President Trump: (866) 961-4293
Senators and Representatives: (202) 224-3121*
Tweet @realDonaldTrump, @WhiteHouse, and @ your Senators/Representatives; post a comment on Facebook.com/WhiteHouse; or submit an electronic message at whitehouse.gov/contact.
Support displaced persons, refugees and refugee agencies in your area. For some practical tips, check the following:
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee: www.lirs.org
Syrian Community Network: www.syriancommunitynetwork.org
World Relief: www.worldreliefchicago.org
Syrian-American Medical Society: www.sams-usa.net
For those in the Chicago area, you are welcome to attend a February 9 fundraiser for the Hyde Park Refugee Project. It will be held in the refectory of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (1100 E. 55th St., 60615), 5:30-7:30 p.m. RSVP, donate, or purchase tickets at www.tinyurl.com/hb5eeqw.
Send a note of encouragement to your local mosque or Muslim community center.
Visit a mosque or Muslim community center and bring your words of support in person.
Participate in activities that bring Christians and Muslims together.
Share your experiences through social media. Tell stories of real people affected by the executive order (such as advocacy appeals from our partner organization www.shouldertoshouldercampaign.org/
Educate and provide resources for learning more about Islam in congregations. There are several resources available on the CCME website: http://ccme.lstc.edu/resources/index.php. We can also help to arrange guest speakers.
Pray – pray for the leaders of our nation, for immigrants, refugees, and Muslim neighbors. Watch for prayer vigils in support of immigrants and refugees. Join Rapid Response Prayer Vigils for refugees in your area. Learn more HERE.