Muslim RelationsELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim Relations
Members of the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim Relations are appointed by the presiding bishop of the ELCA in order to enhance awareness and understanding of Muslims and Islam, and to provide consultation on Lutheran-Muslim relations in this church. The Consultative Panel developed "Talking Points: Topics in Christian-Muslim Relations" in order to foster Lutherans’ sensitivity to Christian-Muslim relationships both in North America and globally.
In 2012, Discover Islam – USA generously offered ELCA members and leaders complimentary copies of their six-disc DVD series titled, "Discover Islam." This series, endorsed by the Islamic Society of North America, can be previewed at www.discoverislam.com. The Consultative Panel, in partnership with A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, developed a study guide for use with the series, authored by Carol Schersten LaHurd. The guide seeks to provide an interpretive framework, exploring how we, as Christians, might best approach and better understand each of the topics covered in the series. To view these resources use the tool box "Discovering Islam" on the top right.
The Consultative Panel was formed in 2008. From then to now, the work has been to explore the history of Christian-Muslim relations, educate Christians about Islam, build relationships with Muslims, combat rising Islamophobia and identify areas of potential cooperation. When Christians and Muslims see one another as siblings this produces new opportunities for cooperation in local, national and international communities. It is important that Christians understand and stand firm against Islamophobia. It is furthermore essential that Christians and Muslims endeavor to establish relationships of trust, integrity and a shared vision of their place in the rich interreligious landscape.
A Common Word Between Us and You
In 2007, 138 Islamic leaders and scholars from around the world joined together to deliver a message in the spirit of open intellectual exchange and mutual understanding titled, “A Common Word Between Us and You.” Addressed to leaders of all the world’s denominations, and to all Christians everywhere, the message declares common ground between Christianity and Islam. In 2008, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA offered an ecumenical response.
In 2010, Islamophobia was reaching a fever pitch. Controversy was raging over a proposal to build a Muslim community center a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, and a Florida pastor was threatening to burn the Qur’an. In response, nearly 40 senior religious leaders held an emergency interfaith summit in September 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Standing in solidarity with Muslim Americans, they released a powerful statement and held a press conference that received international media coverage. The result was the formation of “Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims, Upholding American Values,” an interfaith campaign. Shoulder-to-Shoulder works at the national level and offers strategies and support to local and regional efforts to address Islamophobia. The ELCA is a founding member.