WHY CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS
MAKE GREAT FRIENDS
BY NF STUDIO
Making friends with people of other faiths and cultures is a great way to become a more well-rounded person and even gain insight into your own faith and culture. Here are some things you may not know you share with your Muslim neighbors and how you can build meaningful friendships with them.
Traits that Christians and Muslims Share in Common
When people talk about Christians and Muslims, they are inherently defining each group by their faith, which can lead to focusing on religious differences. However, all faiths are made up of people, and one way to bring people together is to emphasize what things they share in common. While the beliefs and religious lives of Christians and Muslims are different, where simply being a human with strong spirituality is concerned, Christian values and Muslim values are quite similar. Just a few of the qualities these two groups have in common are:
Profound commitment to faith. For practicing Muslims, faith plays as large a role in daily life as it does for the most committed Christian, and it brings many similar challenges and rewards. For this important reason among many others, Christians should be able to readily admire, respect, and empathize with devout Muslims in their communities.
Love of family. Muslim and Christian cultures are both known for their strong family values. Muslims view families as the building blocks of society. Much as Christians do, they strive to create a secure and healthy family environment in which children can learn human virtues from positive role models.
"CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE ABLE TO READILY ADMIRE, RESPECT, AND EMPATHIZE WITH DEVOUT MUSLIMS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES"
Diverse approaches to practicing their faith. Just as Christians come in many varieties and worldviews—such as Anglicans, Presbyterians, or Baptists—so do Muslims. This means that not all individuals have the same beliefs where dress, gender roles, or cultural norms are concerned.
Hobbies, interests, and beliefs outside of religion. Muslims embrace many of the same pastimes and passions that Christians do. Some of the most influential Muslims in the US include politicians, comedians, cosmetics creators, graphic novelists, and more.
Experiences feeling different from others because of their faith. Muslims and Christians alike know what it is to feel they’re the only one of their kind in the room. Those who are most deeply committed to the principles of their faith realize they don’t share all mainstream American cultural values, which can be isolating at times. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to offer friendship and support across faiths.
"JUST AS CHRISTIANS COME IN MANY VARIETIES AND WORLDVIEWS...SO DO MUSLIMS"
Tips for Sustaining a Lasting Christian-Muslim Friendship
A good Muslim-Christian friendship is much like other kinds of friendship. Here are some ways to build and sustain a meaningful relationship with your Muslim acquaintances and friends:
Start by focusing on the importance of faith in each of your lives. Doing so builds bridges and fosters respect between people of different faiths. Many Muslims enjoy talking about their religion. You may be able to offer each other new insights into aspects of faith that you might not gain from conversations with other Christians.
Ask questions. Asking questions about someone’s work, interests, and family is a great way to start a conversation with anyone. Keep this in mind and start with general topics geared toward building a friendly rapport. Save (respectful) questions about Islam for when your prospective Muslim friend feels comfortable with you and faith-related discussions.
Practice hospitality. Invite your Muslim friend to spend time with you the way you would anyone else. If you invite them to your home or out to a restaurant for a meal, keep in mind that practicing Muslims don’t drink alcohol, eat pork, or consume certain other foods and ingredients. You can learn more about halal (permitted) and haram (prohibited) foods here.
Offer a helping hand in practical matters. Once you’re familiar with the challenges your Muslim friend faces, offer a hand wherever you can. Whatever form of help you decide to offer, make sure your friend is comfortable with receiving it and that you remain sensitive to their cultural, spiritual, and individual needs.
Build a true friendship that will last. Make an effort to spend time with your new friend and have fun together. It’s the best way to get to know someone and let them know they can count on you.
Pray for them (with mindfulness and respect). Pray for your Muslim friends and neighbors in the same way that you would pray for a fellow Christian. Ask them what you can pray for when you’re doing so, and focus on their general well-being.
Fight Misconceptions and Make New Muslim Friends With Neighborly Faith
Neighborly Faith is a student-led organization committed to bringing Christians and Muslims together and creating real friendships with neighbors of all faiths. We share the expertise of Evangelical scholars and practitioners to train a generation of leaders to love and lead like Jesus in a diverse world.
Our Boundless Program connects Christian students with influential Muslims in their field in online and in-person learning and networking opportunities. NF Media trains evangelicals to lead and love across faiths. What Went Wrong? tackles the big questions about polarization, and offers real solutions. Our Fellows Program is a competitive fellowship that will equip a cohort of Evangelical college students to lead initiatives that seek justice for and build friendships with people of other faiths in their communities.
If you’re interested in leading with a neighborly faith, contact us today!