It has been drawn to my attention that a letter has been circulating in some areas encouraging people to punish Muslims for the hurt and heartache they have caused. You can see a copy of the letter, and a response on Stephen Kneale’s blog here.
I want to add my personal response – and that of Bearwood Chapel here. Personally, I have had the privilege, growing up in Bradford and now living in Smethwick of knowing many Muslims and people from Muslim backgrounds as friends. They have not been the cause of hurt and heartache to me but a source of deep loyal friendship.
As a Christian I disagree with Islam and its teachings. I believe that our only hope is in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I love having the opportunity to share this good news with Muslim and non-Muslim alike. This good news means that there is no punishment for any of us to bear for the hurt, heartache and more that all of us, what ever our background cause because of sin. ” The Lord has laid on him the punishment of us all.”
Bearwood Chapel and Community Cafe is a place of welcome to all and will continue to be. It is a joy to meet with people each week from many different backgrounds. Our friends at Nueva Vida also continue to welcome and love people through their work in the community to. As my friend Jose often says, ” Love the neighbour” is an action, not a slogan.
We want Smethwick to be a place of welcome to all and a home to those who need it. There is no place for threats of violence here.
To those circulating this letter, we would say that your actions are wrong. You are the ones causing hurt and heartache right now. Please stop your actions. We also want to encourage you to find hope, forgiveness and love at the Cross of Jesus.