Day 23: Luton
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
Located forty miles north of London, England, Luton is a multicultural island in a sea of affluent white towns with over 25 percent of its 215,000 residents being Muslims. Since the 1990’s, it has been unfairly known as a hotbed of Muslim extremism, but more recently also of anti-Muslim “far right wing” extremism.
In March 2009, a protest by a very small group of Muslim extremists at a British Army parade provoked a near riot by local townspeople. In the following weeks tensions ran high, with threats and demonstrations, and the firebombing of a mosque, resulting in the formation of the anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL), which soon spread nationally.
Many have been calling for peace and reconciliation between Muslims and the British population in light of rising anti-Muslim sentiments. A local church community worker named Peter Adams have stood with the imam of the firebombed mosque and also senior Christian and Muslim community leaders at a press conference, and together released a statement in May 2009 condemning the act of Islamic extremism and also a growing division between Muslims and the world due to hatred and widespread fear of extremism.
This unified sentiment has held and even grown. While the EDL has been a force for division, the friendship between faith and community leaders is growing and has allowed difficult issues to be addressed. “Christ’s influence among Muslims would be lost if,” Peter expressed, “Christians are known for hatred and fear.”
– 1 John 4:18 says: “Perfect love drives out fear.” Repent of fear and ask God to fill you and your community with love for Muslims who needs to know Jesus.
– Pray for opportunities to challenge the negative stereotypes of Muslims.
– Pray for opportunities to show love to Muslims you encounter as neighbors and fellow citizens.