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Reflecting on the horror of Orlando and its aftermath…

It is worth noting that American Muslims and groups from around the world responded swiftly and concretely to condemn the horrific mass killing in Orlando on Sunday, 13 June.

See several following links for several Muslim community condemnations:

The Orlando Statement (Note the importance of the first signator – the Mauritanian Reformist Scholar, Abdullah Bin Bayyah)

The Council on American Islamic Relations

The Council for American-Islamic Relations (See also the local Pennsylvania and New Jersey offices).

As this is the Holy Month of Ramadan, Muslim communities are gathering regularly for prayer and fellowship. One of the best ways to both respond to hatred and combat radicalism is to reach out and connect with a local mosque to attend an IFTAR (breaking of the fast) and to engage. This is what sociologist Robert Putnam calls “bridging.” “Bridging” between religious communities can actually make a safer America, rather than those communities that pull back and circle the wagons out of fear [See Robert D. Putnam, and David E. Campbell, American Grace (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 217-8].

In addition, as we watch the news and discuss ways to move our country forward toward inclusivity, it’s important to note our language about terrorism and name violent actions for what they are – violent crimes. I am not sure that this incident was intended to impact or alter national or international policies (a traditional definition of “terrorism”), but rather a crime motivated by hate, impacted by mental illness, supported by a radicalist Islamic ideology, and perpetrated through an easy access to guns.

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"Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world."