A report came out recently that showed a real deficiency among our colleagues in the Catholic press. The report, “Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam,” was conducted by the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University. Its principal author is Jordan Denari Duffner, a research fellow at the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. That understanding is a cause that's close to the heart of Franciscan Media.
We are embarrassed to say that our own site (formerly AmericanCatholic.org) was the only Internet outlet in the Catholic media, according to the researchers, which consistently published a positive message about Islam. Other outlets, in the name of Catholicism, publish all manner of fear and stereotype about Muslims generally being terrorists and all manner of bigotry. It's a blemish on our Church, especially since our Church leaders have so clearly embraced our Muslim brothers and sisters.
I'm proud to say that the Franciscan movement has led in the promotion of this perspective since the time of Francis himself. Muslims, Jews, and Christians, after all, worship the same God, as revealed by Abraham, the Father of Faith. Christians, of course, accept the full revelation of Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, alive in his Church. But we're careful to acknowledge and affirm all who worship God. You can read about why in the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, and in many teachings since that time.
If you search the newly renovated FranciscanMedia.org, you'll see some of our work helping to clarify a proper understanding of Islam, and Christianity's relationship to it. For a better understanding of the Franciscan perspective and relationship to Islam—you can purchase our DVD, In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan. Our bishops here in the United States also do a great deal of work to clarify the connections between Islam and Christianity, instead of the differences.
Stay tuned for more on this report from Georgetown and what it means for the faith as a whole in upcoming issues of the award-winning St. Anthony Messenger.