By Bob Allen
Monday, January 04, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ABP) -- One thing Muslims and Baptists have in common is that they are often identified by their extremists, according to a documentary airing on ABC television stations in January and February.
"Different Books, Common Word" offers an alternative message to both violence by Muslim terrorists around the world and demonizing of Islam by evangelicals in the United States.
The hour-long documentary, produced by a Baptist organization in partnership with the Islamic Society of North America and the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, instead tells stories of individual Baptists and Muslims motivated to reach out to each other by the mandate of love for neighbor taught by both faiths.
The Baptist Center for Ethics, a free-standing partner organization of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, released the video under the aegis of its website, EthicsDaily.com.
"We hope the documentary provides positive narratives for relationships between Baptists and Muslims, narratives that begin to challenge the negative narratives that dominate American culture," said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. He co-produced the movie with EthicsDaily.com's managing editor and media producer, Cliff Vaughn.
Shooting for the video began last January when Parham was invited to Boston for a meeting of about 80 Baptist and Muslim leaders from across the country to discuss repairing a relationship marred by comments from high-profile Baptist leaders portraying Islam as a religion of hate.
Filming lasted through June, featuring interviews with Baptists and Muslims interacting in unlikely places like Columbia, Tenn., where an Islamic center was firebombed in 2008, and the Texas-Louisiana state line, where a Muslim businesswoman and African-American Baptist pastor worked together for hurricane relief.
"Viewers will be surprised to see new stories of respect and partnership that are emerging in the United States between goodwill Muslims and Baptists," said Parham, a former ethicist with the Southern Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission who founded the Nashville, Tenn.,-based Baptist Center for Ethics in 1991. "We hope these stories will begin to replace the negative ones about both Muslims and Baptists."
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