House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., invoked the Islamic prophet Muhammad at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., and compared aspects of the Christian and Islamic faiths.
Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, was one of the number of political and faith leaders to speak at the annual prayer breakfast, and mentioned in her speech some of the similarities she sees between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
"In the Gospel of John we see the golden rule that stands at the heart of the gospel, and as we hear these words from John 13, 15, and 17, we know that this message, this command of love is not confined to the New Testament," Pelosi said, according to The Daily Caller.
"The same message stands at the center of the Torah and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad too. In the Torah it says, 'love your neighbor as yourself' and from Muhammad, 'none of you has faith until he loves for his neighbor or brother what he loves for himself.'"
Comparisons between Islam and Christianity have stirred notable controversy in evangelical circles in recent months, particularly with the ongoing case of a Wheaton College professor who is facing termination for suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Associate political science professor Larycia Hawkins decided to wear a hijab in solidarity with Muslims last year, and also made Facebook posts which compared the two faiths.
The controversy led to Wheaton College Provost Stanton Jones recommending termination proceedings, though Hawkins has attempted to explain that what she meant in her comments is that "when pious Muslims pray, they are addressing the One True God, and that God is, simply, God."
While the Faculty Council at Wheaton College has stood up for the professor and said that it is against the termination recommendation, evangelical leaders such as the Rev. Franklin Graham insisted that there is no room for debate:
"Islam denies that God has a Son. They deny that Jesus is God," Graham said.
In his own speech at the prayer breakfast, President Barack Obama focused on Jesus Christ's power over death, basing his remarks on 2nd Timothy 1:7.
"Fear does funny things. Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different or lead us to try to get some 'sinister other' under control," Obama said.
"Alternatively, fear can lead us to succumb to despair, or paralysis. Or cynicism. Fear can feed our most selfish impulses and erode the bonds of community. It is a primal emotion, fear."
Pelosi has referred to her faith on a number of occasions in political speeches, and back in 2014 suggested that immigrant children coming to American should be treated in similar ways to "baby Jesus," who was also a "refugee from violence."
"If you believe as we do that every child, every person has a spark of divinity in them, and is therefore worthy of respect — what we saw in those rooms was [a] dazzling, sparkling, array of God's children, worthy of respect," she said, speaking at the Texas-Mexico border at the time.