Brookfield Elm Grove Interfaith Network Response to Public Religious Postings by Brookfield Resident
Brookfield Elm Grove Interfaith Network Response to Public Religious Postings by
Brookfield, November 7, 2017 - Residents of Brookfield, along with communities in the greater Milwaukee area, are concerned about a controversial sign a Brookfield homeowner has displayed on their private property in recent months. The large sign, visible from a major intersection of the city, currently quotes the Quran, the holy book of Islam, and the media reported a story about it on November 6.
Reporters interviewed the owner (whose identity has not been revealed) as well as a neighbor inquiring about the intentions of these messages, which say, “Make war until Allah reigns supreme,” and “read the Quran.” The homeowner states that the signs are not meant to incite anger or negative reactions, but to inspire curiosity and encourage people to research different religions. Reporters quoted the homeowner as saying he believes that Islam is a religion of peace.
BEGIN respects and believes in the freedom of speech. Furthermore, we appreciate the homeowner’s understanding that Islam is a peaceful religion, for we share that understanding. However, we believe individual religious communities themselves do the best job of presenting their views. This is not the first post of controversial Quranic verses that have been displayed on the Brookfield homeowner’s sign. The police have received numerous complaints about the sign.
In a time when the Muslim community is under intense scrutiny in the media and members are stereotyped due to the heinous acts of fringe groups and individuals claiming to follow the religion of Islam, a sign like this can lead to more hate against local Muslims, as they have already been experiencing. Displaying verses of scripture of any religion, out of context, can elicit the opposite response from the public than what was intended.
As BEGIN, we encourage interfaith dialogue and we work together as communities of faith. We believe that religious diversity enriches our communities. We urge all those who have seen the sign to reach out to the Muslim community members of ISM Brookfield (a branch of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee) to learn more about this religion and its beliefs. The mosque will be hosting an Open Mosque Day event on November 11th from 11am-4pm, and BEGIN will host its annual Thanksgiving Service on November 16th at the Community United Methodist Church in Elm Grove.
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