Evangelical Alliance urges Christians to build links with Muslims

Evangelical Christians have been urged to build links with Muslims in their local communities as the Muslim Council of Britain hosts its annual VisitMyMosque day this weekend.

Evangelical AllianceThe Evangelical Alliance said: "In order to truly fulfil Jesus' commandment to "love your neighbour", Christians need to better understand and make an effort to forge friendships with not just Muslims, but people of all faiths."

The Evangelical Alliance has encouraged Christians to "forge friendships with not just Muslims, but people of all faiths".

The push comes as Church leaders gathered in Birmingham Central Mosque on Friday afternoon to oppose a march by anti-Islamist group Pegida UK.

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said that because evangelicals believe in a loving God, "we cannot stand by and watch as our Muslim neighbours are victimised or marginalised".

"We refuse to buy into the hateful narratives about Muslims which seem to be creeping their way into our society," he said.

Clifford's comments will be taken as a reference to anti-Islamist movements which are assembling across Europe this weekend.

"Instead of hate, we choose to love our neighbours as we love ourselves," Clifford said in a statement.

"I'm personally heartened when I see communities where religious liberty is valued and Christians and Muslims live alongside each other well. Imagine how the places in which we live can be transformed by the gospel when Christians form genuine friendships with Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds in their areas."

The EA maintained there were "inherent differences" between Islam and Christianity, but urged Christians to consider "ways in which Jesus would have them engage with Muslims in their community".

"Visit My Mosque" day is run by the Muslim Council of Britain and encourages mosques to open their doors to the public. This year 80 mosques are participating, three times more than last year, and will invite their communities to share tea, cake and give an insight into their day-to-day activities.

Clifford said: "If visiting a mosque is something you feel you can't do, consider simply reading up a bit more about what Muslims believe through resources recommended by groups like Mahabba or simply inviting a person of another faith round for a cup of tea."

Lifestyle