Introduction for Muslims
السلام عليكم
as-salaamu 'alaykum

Thank you for taking time to visit our website! We hope that you find here an opportunity to take a look at our community, and to examine how our faith encourages not derision but dialog, and not intolerance but compassion to those of the Islamic faith.

Historically, Orthodoxy and Islam have been able to peacefully coexist whenever both parties maintain dialogue and are able to contain the elements of their respective societies that threaten their stability. The terrible crisis in Lebanon during the 1980s, the Balkans in the 1990s and the Holy Land in our present time may at a glance appear to be examples of how Orthodoxy and Islam are at permanent odds with one another, but a closer look at each one of these conflicts will see that other issues – ethnic tension, economics, outside political forces, and simple human evil – were the main tension point.

As Orthodox Christians, our faith draws much from the same Middle East culture that Islam has been founded on. Our churches historically did not have pews, and often have carpets for the faithful to pray on. Oil lamps (known as lampadas) were primarily used instead of candles. Our services include the chanting of our Holy Books, instead of bland recital and the usage of musical instruments, with an emphasis on hearing the beauty of the words. Instead of genuflecting or constantly sitting or standing, our services involve a great deal of bowing and prostrations. We follow a stricter guideline of prayer, fasting and personal, family and cultural moral codes than most Christian sects, many of which are parallel to Muslim culture. And in modern America, the Orthodox Church faces many of the same struggles that Islam does – the balance between the Old World and the New, between converts and those born into the faith, raising families and living a pious life in an increasingly secular world, and facing confusion and misunderstanding of our faith by the greater population.

We do not deny that there are many differences between the Orthodox faith and Islam. We also recognize that some of these differences can and have caused tension. We do, however, remain hopeful that by extending an offering of peace and friendship, that God, (whose name the Arab Christians also invoke as Allah) in His wisdom, will see us through this difficult time.
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