American Baptist Leader Sends Letter of Encouragement to American Muslim Community

Following the bombing in Boston on April 15, Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, wrote a letter to Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances at the Islamic Society of North America. Dr. Medley shared his hopes for the positive progress of understanding and community that has grown between the people of Islamic and Baptist faith since the first meeting of the National Baptist Muslim Dialogue began in 2009: April 23, 2013 Dear friends, I write to encourage you. I know that the bombing in Boston and the recent news linking that horrible action to the two brothers’ growing involvement in Islam has been a challenge to all you represent and labor for. I have recalled frequently this past week the dear faces of those with whom we broke bread in Boston just this past fall at the Baptist Muslim Dialogue event and how much more difficult life must be for them now. Our Christian scriptures tell us “to not grow weary in well-doing.”  Your work, our work, for peace and understanding must not be derailed by those who justify violence and hate by their faith.  If anything, we must redouble our commitment to this holy task for it is of the Spirit of God. On Saturday, April 20, our second regional dialogue between Baptist and Muslims went forward in Kansas City, KS at our seminary there. The reports that I have received have highlighted the power of that meeting in light of the attack on the Boston marathon. So my friends, let us be more committed to the task of peacemaking.  Let us refuse to allow the power of evil to deter us. A Baptist named Martin Luther King, Jr., declared in the sixties that “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can drive out darkness.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can drive out hate.”  That is the conviction that compels us forward in our quest. To quote Christian scripture again, the very text the president used in his address to the nation, “let us run with perseverance, the race that is set before us.” Assure the Islamic Council of New England of our love and our prayers for them in these days. Let me know how we might encourage our two faith communities in the Boston area to continue the good work that they have begun. Your Christian brother, Roy