This atmosphere of anxiety makes it difficult for some, and impossible for others, to distinguish between the activities of the Islamic State and the religion of Islam. U.S. President Barack Obama was at pains to make that distinction when he recently made it clear that his country was not at war with Islam. In his mind, Islamic State and Islam are different realities. But it’s less clear if Obama’s opinion is shared among other world leaders as they try to combat terrorism in their countries.
What is frequently left out of the discussion whenever violent acts are committed in the name of Islam is the question of whose God is it anyway? Do Catholics, for example, believe that Allah, the God of Islam, is their God as well? Would a worshipper hear from a Catholic pulpit or a Muslim hear at a prayer service that Islam and Christianity worship the same God? Probably not. Does the average Catholic and Muslim try to understand the similarities and differences between the God worshipped by Islam and Christianity? Not likely.