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Jewish and Muslim voices chime in on same God question

Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God? The question has swept Wheaton’s campus and the country, opening a torrents of discussions and debates among Christians. But how do followers of Judaism and Islam see the issue? Are all three faiths pursuing the same entity?
“Yes,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance. “There’s only one God.”
Moline is a Conservative Jew, a denomination he compares to the Episcopalian Church in terms of its high liturgical style and liberal theology. He believes that the three religions see God differently, but ultimately are striving for the same being. “The vast majority of Jews would view it that way,” according to Moline.
While he sees the theological issue differently than Wheaton’s administration, Moline in no way disputes the college’s right to act as it deems appropriate. “This is exactly the kind of protected action we would defend,” he said, referring to Interfaith Alliance’s mission, “Protecting faith and freedom.”
The Alliance, of which Moline is soon to be named president, works to combat religious prejudice and the abuse of religious freedom laws, while advocating for the rights of LGBTQ individuals and the authority of religious institutions to define social questions as they see fit.
Yasir Qadhi, a Sunni imam and renowned American Muslim scholar, agreed with Moline, saying, “The God of Abraham is the God of Islam.”
Qadhi is an assistant professor of religion at Rhodes College, a liberal arts school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. While questions regarding the Trinity do “complicate that question,” he believes, as do virtually all Muslims, that the three religions worship the same deity.
Qadhi cited a Qur’anic commandment to Muslims, calling on them to “Say: ‘O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word as between us and you: That we worship none but God’” (al-Imran 3:64). According to Qadhi, the Qur’an contains many references to material from the Old Testament and depicts Jesus as a prophet, with the angel Gabriel playing a role comparable to that of the Holy Spirit.
Jews and Christians are ascribed a special place within Islamic law as “People of the Book” in recognition of the ties between the three faiths.
When asked if a similar controversy would have broken out if Professor Larycia Hawkins’ comments had concerned Jews rather than Muslims, Qadhi was unequivocal. “Absolutely not,” he said.
Qadhi also said that the current climate in American public life factored into the college’s decision. “Twenty years ago, I don’t think (Hawkins) would have caused any controversy,” he said. “The reaction of the college would have been nothing.”
When asked whether he considered the administration’s actions to be reflective of anti-Muslim bias, Qadhi responded that “to be brutally honest … yes,” although he recognized the role of doctrinal concern in the decision as well.
Both Moline and Qadhi expressed a desire to further dialogue between Christianity and their own faiths.

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