I’ve been told that the Virgin Mary is held in high esteem by many in Islam who venerate her as the mother of a great prophet, so I’m not surprised by the subject of this article. When people are left to themselves they generally find ways to coexist and adapt to each other. It’s the fanatics in any population who usually cause the trouble.
Several years ago my wife and I found ourselves in Arab East Jerusalem at the top of the Mount of Olives standing before the great iron gate separating the large Russian Orthodox monastery there from the outside world. The Muslim gatekeeper proudly mentioned that he was the third generation in his family to exercise that duty, and produced a photograph of his grandfather standing with the monastic clerics to prove it to us. When my wife asked him if he was a Christian, he said that he was a Muslim, but he knew that God was present on the other side of the gate.
Excerpts: “Devotion to the Virgin Mary is quite strong in Islam….The spiritual dialogue between Christians and Muslims is much more promising than cultural, theological, or political dialogue…While some Islamic sects are hostile to all manifestations of Christian belief, countless Muslims cherish a belief in the healing powers of Marian shrines. Pilgrimages are particularly popular in Egypt, and thousands of Muslims have been attracted to reported apparitions of the Virgin.”