by JANET LEVY:
The first chapter of the Koran, Al Fatiha, is recited at the start of Muslim prayer rituals at five different times of the day for a total of 17 recitations daily. The Al Fatiha entreats Muslims to follow the straight path – obedience to Allah and his messenger Mohammed – and not the path of those who have angered Allah or gone astray. For centuries, revered Islamic scholars have interpreted this foundational surah of Islamic doctrine as referring to Jews and Christians: Jews as those angering Allah because they know the “truth” about Islam and knowingly reject it, and Christians as those gone astray because they are ignorant of Islam and therefore misguided. Thus, the idea of both Jews and Christians as having strayed from the “straight path” is reinforced daily and also in later verses of the Koran.
The significance Al Fatiha can’t be underestimated. According to Robert Spencer, an expert on Islam and author of 13 books on the subject, “Mohammed said that the Fatiha surpasses anything revealed by Allah.”
Given the damning inherent in this compulsory prayer and the active and historical enmity of Muslims toward them both, it is puzzling and even dangerous that both Jews and Christians today engage in many interfaith activities and forums with committed Muslims. Indeed, they often reject alliances with each other, even to the point of occasionally working at cross-purposes. In the face of the serious worldwide threat Islam poses to both religions, their failure to work together could eventually prove to be a fatal mistake.
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