Beginning in 2008, the members of The CMCG developed the concept for Standing Together in response to a collective realization that there did not appear to be any study guides on Islam and Christianity that were developed by teams of Christians and Muslims working in partnership on the same materials. In this sense, Standing Together represents a unique collaboration that reveals the richness and vibrancy of these faith traditions and teachings. The goals of Standing Together are to:
- To bring Muslim and Christian neighbors together to come to know one another as people and break down the dehumanizing stereotypes that keep us apart and fearful of one another. We live in the same neighborhoods; our kids go to school together; we see each other in the supermarket. However, we often don’t know each other very well, if at all, since it is rare for Christians and Muslims in the United States to socialize formally or informally. With Standing Together, the members of The CMCG hope to bridge relationships and communities together.
- To create opportunities for faithful Muslims and Christians to engage with one another about beliefs and practices. Of course, it is always possible to pick up a book or watch a television program and get some of the same information; but with Standing Together, face-to-face interactions develop a deeper, first-hand knowledge of the ways in which our faith traditions are both similar and distinctive. Furthermore, in the process of this dialogue, you will clarify your knowledge about your own beliefs and traditions.
- To lay the foundation for possible future projects that your group might choose to do together to enhance the well-being of all your members and communities. The members of The CMCG have found ways to partner on many projects of common interest beyond the original intent of the organization, and share fellowship with one another as our bonds of friendship deepen. It is our prayer that your dialogue group will also experience the abundance of more profound relationships together.
It is also important to clarify what Standing Together is not. It is not an opportunity to try to convert one another. As you talk about your own faith tradition, speak from your experience and knowledge, and in a way that honors the experience and knowledge of all the members of your group. Come to the dialogue assuming that you will disagree on some matters, but open to hearing the perspective of the other side. Listen for the unexpected ways in which you may be more alike than different. Be renewed in your understanding of what makes you who you are and in the faithfulness of our Creator. Stand Together.
"Light is not competitive. Light is additive. If you add another bulb here, it will not take out the light from the other bulb. It will make the room more light. This is the way we should look at the different religions."
~ Dr. Maher Hathout, The Islamic Center of Southern California