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30 Days

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30 Days

The Show

After the 9-11 attacks, many Americans associate Muslim's in this country with terrorism. 9-11 didn't just mark an enormous shift in terror but as a whole affected life as a Muslim in America. An FX television documentary attempted to send out a message to all Americans when they sent a devout Christian to one of the largest Muslim communities in the country in Dearborn, Michigan, to live the life of a Muslim for 30 days. This program intends to enlighten its viewers about the Muslim American experience and increase the support Christians have for the Islamic faith.

David Stacy, a Christian father and husband from West Virginia was sent to live with a Muslim couple, the Haques', believing that the 30 days he practiced the Islamic faith would only reassure him of his beliefs of this religion. When asked what he thinks of when he thinks of the word "Muslim," he responded, "I picture men with an AK47, and women with a sheet over their heads". During the 30 days he was staying with this family, his task was to absorb the life of a Muslim in this predominant Muslim community.

The Church Teaching of Islam

From Lumen Gentium no. 16 of the Second Vatican Council:

16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.[18] There is, first, that people to which the covenants and promises were made, and from which Christ was born according to the flesh (cf. Rom. 9:4-5): in view of the divine choice, they are a people most dear for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts of God are without repentance (cf. Rom. 11:29-29). But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.

The Muslims hold a place of honor in relation to the Catholic Church as a people who profess to hold the faith of Abraham and who together with us adore the one, merciful God! Muslims do not worship a different God than Catholics. Rather, they worship the one true God, even if we have different perceptions or know different truths about this one true God. The Council continues to clarify this thought:

Nor is God remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the Savior wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4). Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience--those too many achieve eternal salvation.[19] Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life.

Though we can rightly say there is no salvation apart from the Church (ex ecclessiam), it is incorrect to say there is no salvation outside of the Church. Muslims often demonstrate signs of the work of God's grace in their lives. Many Muslims are being saved by God, even if they do not know God in the same way Christians know God.

Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is considered by the Church to be a preparation for the Gospel[20] and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.

Who would deny that the Muslims do well to fast, pray and give alms? What Catholic is not moved to strive for greater Christian holiness when we see images of Muslims bowing together by the hundreds in prayer? How many of us Catholics actually manage to faithfully pray at least five times per day?

We can learn from Islam what it means to seek holiness and unity in everyday life. The Islamic tradition has produced great fruits of scholarship and theological reflection. The modern so-called "fundamentalist" is a rather recent phenomenon, and there are more progressive traditions in Islam,

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