There are a lot of blog-posts trying to bash the LDS church as not being “Christian”, usually to encourage Evangelical voters to vote against him.

As a Catholic, I am old enough to remember when a similar stealth campaign was done against John Kennedy.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

I have also run into articles, such as this one on Wikipedia, that claims that Mormon belief has many parallels to that of the Muslims.

In reality, both Muslims and Catholics tend to feel at home in “Mormon country” because although the dogmas differ, we have a lot in common: a quiet down to earth belief in God and acting like out beliefs matter.

From the Deseret News:

Baioumy, who moved to Lindon from Egypt 11 years ago to work for Novell, said he was worried when he first came to the United States.

“I was worried, because the culture is completely different, the way of thinking,” he said. “When I came here to Utah I was surprised: this is not the U.S. I know. The impression I got about the U.S. was from the movies. But when you live with the people, it’s different.”

Baioumy said he likes the LDS culture in Utah County because it’s closer to Islamic culture than other parts of the United States. Baioumy said he has strong relationships with his mostly LDS neighbors.

That part about US being portrayed as hedonistic and immoral in movies should be realized by all Americans.

And I am not surprised that the article mentions that the local universities have set aside rooms for Muslim students to pray.

If the Salt Lake City area LDS tended to extend hospitality to the present day Muslim refugees from Bosnia and Somalia, it should be remembered that they similarly extended welcome to the gentile gold rush travelers at a time when the colony was still new and they could have been turned away since provisions were tight. Similarly, Brigham Young had to cope with gentiles who worked in the mines nearby, but he welcomed Catholic sisters who came to start a hospital for them.

So a President Romney, like a President Obama, should have no religious problem with the Middle East.

But then I came across another article asking a question: Are Mormons “Ahl Kitaab”? Are they “People of the Book”?

Traditionally, Jews and Christians were considered “People of the Book”, i.e. the Bible, and monotheists who believed in Allah, but just were too stubborn to recognize his final prophet.

Ironically, Zorastrian religion, which predates Christianity, was also considered in this category, since they too were monotheistic. Hindus? They are pagans, although some Muslim scholars pragmatically insist that they too could be considered in this category. The same argument goes for Buddhists.

However, in Iran, the Bahai religion is monotheistic, but since they converted out of Islam, the Shiite Mullahs of Iran see it as a heresy, it is being actively persecuted in that country.

But what of Mormonism and the LDS church?

I suspect you would get as many answers as you would if you ask Christians if Mormons are Christian. (Catholics object to the way the LDS church redefines many basic beliefs of ancient Christianity, and adds a new bible to that of revealed truth. So Catholics see them as a Christian sect,  but they do not recognize their baptism).

Ah, but would an LDS president be seen as a member of “the People of the Book” by the Muslim world?

MuslimMatters says probably not: they resemble the Bahai, in being a Christian offshoot.

If we do some simple qiyaas, it would seem that Mormons with a “new religion”distinct from the “old Christianity” would be similarly excluded from Ahl Kitaab. At least, looking at it from a very simplistic point of view. Hopefully some brothers and sisters with access to scholarly point of view can provide some clarifications.

Of course, Islam is not a monolith any more than Christianity is, and I suspect that others scholars will interpret it differently.

Ordinary Muslims who love God will welcome a President whose religion, like theirs, requires charity to the poor and emphasizes the importance of the family, and who might understand why some countries want to add religious law to their constitutions.

As for the crazies? They hate everyone.

And those of you with more experience are welcome to make comments.

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