First, there are Muslims who know little more about the 6,000 verses of the Koran than some Christians do the Bible. In countries where Islam is not dominant, they are perfectly willing to live in harmony with persons of other faiths. They are not militant. In Muslim-dominated countries many are open to coexistence with people of other faiths.
There is a challenge in differentiating who is what, however.
In his Cairo speech President Obama said there are seven million Muslims in America. Eight percent of the Muslims participating in a recent survey said they believe suicide bombing is acceptable in defending Islam. Of those between the ages of 18-29, 15 percent who participated agreed and 60 percent said they were Muslims first and Americans second.
The first part of the Koran has some beautiful passages and positive peaceful verses. The last part advocates acts of violence.
Sura 9, verse 5 states, "Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war. But if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them."
Sura 9, verse 29, "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day ... until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
Now here is a part that is confusing as to why groups would like to use churches. Sura 5, 51, "Oh ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for our friends and protectors; they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them in friendship is of them. Verily Allah guideth not the unjust."
Here is a heavy verse, Sura 3, verse 28, relates to the subject of "taquiyya." It is a doctrine that states that Muslims should not be friends with the infidel except as deception, always for the purpose of converting, subduing or destroying them.
All of these verses are in the last part of the Koran and conflict with some in the first half. That conflict is explained by Muslims by the theory of abrogation, which teaches that when there is a conflict the last statement on the subject should take precedent over the first statement.
Regarding the possibility of Christians and/or Jews using a mosque, an internationally known Muslim figure said they are welcome to come and experience the enlightenment. That is the same as saying to them you are welcome to our places of worship to be evangelized.
The above figures indicate there are 56,000 Muslims living in America who approve of suicide bombers.
Hopefully, those Muslims who do not favor jihad will reason with those who do. In the meantime those Muslims who sense a stand-off spirit toward them by non-Muslims need to know the above verses cause that attitude, and not mere religious bigotry.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. Contact Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.