I wrote a little editorial piece that actually got published.
Here it is:
I recently received my free copy of the Quran from CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). I expected a little pocket size version of the text. Instead, I received a full size leather bound volume, with gold embossed lettering.
I wish to thank Nihad Awad, and CAIR for funding this effort. They obviously care deeply for their cause, and are sincere in their efforts to spread understanding and tolerance. Mr. Awad's accompanying letter requested that I treat the Quran with respect. I assure him that I honor his generous gift.
I have read through the text and was surprised to find that the Quran and the Bible share many of the same stories and characters. Mary, Joseph, Moses, The story of David and Goliath, Noah's flood, and other familiar teachings are found all throughout the Quran. Jesus is referred to 22 times.
Anyone who centers their world-view in Jewish, Islamic or Christian tradition should be aware that all three religions offer valuable primary source material. These texts offer great historical insight into the early civilizations of the Middle-East, and the struggles between different sub-cultures. They share in the same purpose: to offer moral guidance and honor the divine. For me, it became clear that all of these seemingly different religions grew from the same tree.
My criticism is that both the Bible and the Quran are written with the voice of patriarchal nationalism, each espousing their truth as the only right way. I hope that someday people will rise to a higher level of enlightenment, and see that the divine is not exclusive to any one sect. It is within everything, and available to everyone. It is up to us to glean the divine from all we encounter, from the miracle of a seed that grows to a tree, to the teachings of the diverse and beautiful, Holy Scriptures of the world.
Instead of fighting over our differences, I suggest we explore our commonalities.
May the reward of the fruit from the tree of life go to CAIR, and everyone who extends the olive branch of, mutual respect, diversity and peace.