Peace Through the Reconciliation of the Three Holy Books
Among these dedicated scholars and thinkers is Dr. Safi Kaskas, the publisher of “The Qur’an: A Contemporary Understanding.” On September 8th, Dr. Safi contributed to a conference on 9/11: Peace through the Reconciliation of Our Holy Books, in which speakers from all three Abrahamic religions (i.e., Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) contributed, as well.
In an interview conducted by CME correspondent, Francesca Maria Lorenzini, Dr. Safi said that since he moved to the USA in 1969 and witnessed the difference between how Americans dealt with Muslims before and after 9/11, American non-Muslims have always been willing to welcome and accept people from other religions, cultures, and backgrounds. Yet, thanks to the 9/11 attacks, Muslims became suspects, and their faith became something to be afraid of. Thus, the conference was “an idea to turn the memory of 9/11 from a violent memory into a memory of peace”; where “peace is not only peace for Muslims, but it is also peace with everybody else. ” He believes that peace is the core value of all three religions, and it is found—if read and understood correctly- in the three holy books.
He believes that every Muslim has a role in countering the negative impacts of the 9/11 attacks and combating racism against Muslims. This is best done through “education,” n”, which is why he wrote his book, “The Qur’an: A Contemporary Understanding,” where he translated the Qur’an and explained it with references to the Bible. This is to deliver the message that if all three holy books are revealed by one singular God, then the core messages are the same.
Thus, his book has over 3000 references from the Bible to the Qur’an, proving that the verses from the Bible and the Qur’an on the same issues have similar meanings. Dr. Safi also announced during the interview that he is currently working on a similar project, yet with reference to the Tanakh; to deliver the same message that the Qur’an and the Torah have much in common. Through this, his idea is clear that all three holy books are calling for peace; justice; and accepting others, and that if people from the three religions understood this, they would get along with each other.
He also believes that the core of the solution lies in putting the values in the Qur’an into our everyday practice, accompanied by education, reading, and rethinking what we read in a 21st-century context. In addition to that, young Muslims should work more on writing books, using social media and different media channels to promote the real values of the Qur’an and show the world what they do and what they look like. This will help not only Muslims living in the US but also Muslims living everywhere else in the world. If the world saw what Muslims really are and how they are calling for peace, they would be able to combat racism, regain their freedom, and call for their rights.
Readers might think that Dr. Safi’s ideas are just part of a beautiful dream about an “ideal world” that would never exist. However, during the interview, he says that he tried that on his own. After the 9/11 attacks, Dr. Safi, among other Muslims, joined the “Jesus Followers” group that was against taking revenge on Muslims. In fact, Muslims and some Jews, as well, joined the group that was calling for peace; a group that believed that having some people holding a certain religious faith committing an act of terror does not define the religious faith itself. On the contrary, they believe that religious faith is the road toward peace.
Hence, promoting peace through the reconciliation of the three holy books is not a fantasy. Instead, it is an idea that could turn into reality through educating ourselves and others about the commonalities among the three Abrahamic religions, for “Education chases away ignorance the same way light chases away the darkness.”
Last but not least, Dr. Safi’s beliefs and thoughts are what inspire others to do good in this world; aspire for a better world for all; accept and respect others equally; and give each their full rights, regardless of their religious faith.