From Boston to the Bible Belt and from Beaumont to the nation’s beltway, Baptists and Muslims are changing history with the way they change each other. Tired of being defined by extremists, some Baptists and Muslims in the United States have sought and found common ground: the common word in both traditions to love God and love neighbor. The courageous Baptists and Muslims in “Different Books, Common Word” will surprise you.
EthicsDaily.com contains dozens and dozens of articles on Baptists and Muslims. You can find the articles by: 1) clicking on some of the "related articles" on the right-hand side of the page; 2) clicking on the keywords/tags at the bottom of this page, which will call up even more related articles; or 3) simply type a search term, like "Islam" or "Interfaith," into the search box at the top of the site.
In 2007, 138 Muslim scholars and leaders issued an open letter to Christians. The letter was called "A Common Word Between Us and You," and it sought to improve relations between Muslims and Christians in all parts of the world. Click here to read the letter from Muslims.
In 2009, the Baptist World Alliance, the largest body of Baptists, wrote a response to the letter. Click here to read the letter from Baptists.
Below you can watch several excerpts from the documentary. Single-click the video play it on this page (in the small format), or double-click the video to open it in a high-definition format (loading times will vary depending on the speed of your computer and Internet connection). All clips are embeddable.
In this clip, Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances at the Islamic Society of North America, speaks at the first ever national dialogue between Baptists and Muslim leaders outside Boston, Mass., on Jan. 9, 2009.
In this clip, Daoud Abudiab, president of the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn., recounts the February 2008 incident in which the Islamic Center was firebombed.
In this clip, Imad Enchassi, imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, remembers the efforts of a local Baptist congregation in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In this clip, Toni Campbell, assistant professor at Southwest Tennessee Community College, tells of her Baptist upbringing.
In this clip, Sam Tolbert, pastor of Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles, La., discusses how he came to know members from the Islamic community.
In this clip, which does not appear in the final cut, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., speaks at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America on July 4, 2009, in Washington, D.C.
Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, shares a laugh with Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances at the Islamic Society of North America, in front of Baptists and Muslims gathered outside Boston in January 2009.
“During my years of meeting Muslim believers around the world, I have been impressed with the many things we have in common in our beliefs. People of every faith have the challenge to deal with the divisive and destructive attitudes of extremism. … ‘Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims’ will enhance our efforts to serve God in a troubled world. I am sure that this teaching tool, which shares actual experiences of those of different faiths respecting each other as they look for ways to work together, will be of great benefit to us all.”
Jimmy Carter, former U.S. president
“‘Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims’ manages to avoid oversimplification of today’s most important and controversial debate, all-the-while staying away from both demonization and idealization. Though surprised by the kindness and grace discovered in each other, Christians and Muslims in the documentary are not blind to the bigotry of some of those who claim adherence to the same faith as the one they follow. I hope that this documentary will be used to illustrate and support sermons, Sunday school lessons, Friday addresses, and seminary classes, motivating the Church and the Mosque into demonstrations of practical love towards one another all over the world, so that when our extremists attempt to captivate our communities with their brash characterization of ‘the evil other,’ we will be inclined to stand up and say: ‘Thank you for sharing, but my own experience finds no affinity in your discourse.’”
Martin Accad, associate professor of Islamic Studies
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon
and associate professor of Islamic Studies
School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California
“I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude for your documentary on Baptist and Muslim relations. I strongly recommend the documentary. It is coming at a crucial time where fear and mistrust are unfortunately the dominant realities in Baptist-Muslim relationship. The documentary is an important educational tool that will allow us to step beyond fear and mistrust and start an honest engagement based on our common love of God and neighbor. The labeling of every Muslim as a terrorist is a disservice to Muslims around the world, but especially to Muslim neighbors in American cities and communities.”
M. Imad Damaj, president
Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs
“I just finished watching ‘Different Books, Common Word’ and was impressed with the balance, honesty, and grace of the presentation. It was very clear from those who were interviewed that having different faith perspectives did not negate some common human needs and desires. Thank you for a refreshing look at how people from different cultures and different religious traditions can work together positively and constructively. This is an important word to a divided world.”
Phil Lineberger, pastor
WilliamsTraceBaptistChurch, Sugar Land, Texas
“’Different Books, Common Word’ provides a compelling antidote to adversarial framings of Christian-Muslim relations in our nation. The film introduces us to real-world interactions between Baptists and Muslims that humanize both communities. It clearly shows that when religious leaders earnestly seek to abide by the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad, they have the power to enhance peace and mutual respect in our society. This film should be seen in every church and mosque so that congregations can reconsider their assumptions and work towards greater harmony and cooperation based on shared core values.”
Shabbir Mansuri, founding director
Institute on Religion and Civic Values, Fountain Valley, California
“When September 11, 2001 happened, and Christians were struggling to know how to respond midst the horror and confusion, our church discovered that we had no relationship with and very little knowledge about the Muslim community in Kansas City or anywhere.Since then, except for inclusive prayer and preaching and the occasional interfaith panel, little has changed.What good news to see that some Baptists have done better.‘Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims’ tells five powerful and hopeful stories of Baptists and Muslims who, together, have broken through barriers of prejudice, ignorance, apathy and fear to show us all a way to the world we long for. … These are stories of Baptists at their best.This excellent documentary avoids blame and guilt.It teaches, touches and inspires.We are guided by the wisdom and courage of everyday prophets among us.If every Baptist church would see this film, the world could change.”
Heather Entrekin, pastor
PrairieBaptistChurch, Prairie Village, Kansas
"EthicsDaily.com has produced another timely documentary. If ever there was a time when Baptists and Muslims needed to begin genuine relationships and dialogue it is today... I am grateful for the leadership of the EthicsDaily.com staff in producing this documentary. I hope you will watch your ABC listings for the times when it will air in your area."