Often, but not always, we may find that evangelical christians might be closer to Muslims and Islam because of their own beliefs. On the other hand while liberals may defend, grudgingly at times, the right for Muslims to have our own space, they will continue to critique the content of our beliefs – deen.
This leads to a problematic issue: we see Muslims organizations engaging with liberals because the basis of engagement is right to practice i.e. civil rights, but with contradictory beliefs.
By participating in secular committees meetings etc., Muslims end up being challenged on a whole host of issues ranging from “gay rights” misunderstandings of “women’s rights” to the very notion of being critical of Islam itself. After all for a secular there is nothing sacred, and it is assumed that those who wish to join with them will similarly question all – including the very legitimacy of the Qur’an itself. Because the ultimate goal of liberalism is not only a secular political entity/state but a secular person with a divided and disconnected psyche.
The quandary however is that we see evangelical christians – or practicing Christians – have a warped notion of Islam that has been created for the political purposes of 1) eliminating Muslims from within the US and 2) to justify a militaristic approach to world issues/conflicts – where Muslims are a key player and bulwark against secular outlooks.
How then should Muslims approach this question – while we may not be able to build bridges – i.e. institutional bridges -with believing Christians (of all denominations) – we might be able to build common ground by staying true to our deen. Thus, we may plainly state our point of views on social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and other values that we may share with Christians. We might even go so far as recognizing a Christian character of a state. Such an approach may well also lead to people becoming more familiar with Islam, and people may see religion as providing an alternative to the secular and fragmented character of US society. The socially engaged characteristic of Islam may also attract those who who don’t particularly care for the, at times, reactionary and/or apolitics of evangelical Christians. But yet have not bought into the wholesale abandonment of social / ethical moral values.