Finding Jesus among Muslims
By Jordan Denari Duffner (Liturgical Press, 2017)
Finding Jesus Among Muslims couldn’t have come at a better time. While Jordan Denari Duffner’s book would be a welcome resource for interreligious dialogue at any point, it resonates even more in our current timeline of Muslim travel bans and Senate candidates who have said that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office.
The book is nevertheless a hopeful read, encouraging readers to participate in interreligious dialogue to build our relationships with God and each other. It uses Duffner’s personal interactions with Muslims and her experiences living abroad in Jordan to break down barriers to this dialogue. Duffner talks frankly about how immersing herself in Islam, especially by praying with Muslims, guided her back to Catholicism at a time when she found herself drifting away. She deepened her personal faith and religious beliefs by noting how the practices, vocabulary, and scripture of Islam relate to Catholicism.
The book traces the similar values Christians and Muslims place on justice, kindness, and mercy. Duffner also explains how Mary, Jesus, the Bible, the Quran, and the prophet Muhammad are situated in each religion. Duffner tells heartening stories of everyday Muslims’ lives—for example, the story of Muslim neighbors who threw a surprise Christmas celebration for a Christian neighbor in Jordan after the Christian family had experienced a loss.
One chapter begins by asking Christians to put themselves in the shoes of Muslims facing prejudice in the world today. The simple exercise takes prejudice out of the abstract and makes it starkly clear how it can impact everyday Muslims.
Finding Jesus Among Muslims can be a useful tool for personal faith exploration, an educational introduction to Islam, or a text for broader group conversations. The journey to dialogue is ongoing, but this book can serve as a guide.
This article also appears in the January 2018 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 83, No. 1, page 41).