A Christian Response to Islamaphobia

Timothy Tennent, President of Asbury Seminary, has posted A Christian Response to Islamaphobia. I commend it to you.

Even some writers and speakers who are very conservative and not unready for theological battle are warning us to deescalate the fear of all things Muslim. James White of Alpha Omega Ministries is among these. I can’t find a specific file right now of his that presents his warning to christians about this, but he has repeatedly told us to get past the “all Muslims are terrorists” thing. (I wish he could be so charitable to Arminians).

If you read the Qur’an, you could come to the conclusion that the only good Muslim is a terrorist by today’s standards. There are so many passages there that make the blood run cold. It is hard to go from the Koran to the “religion of peace” thing that President George W Bush kept repeating. The Koran does not have a New Testament-like section that resolves the brutal sections of the Qur’an with a new ethic of love and peace.

Christians who have an active ministry with Muslims warn us that what we think has to be true is not true. I am not deeply enough into this kind of active ministry that enables me to balance the theological tenets of Islam with the actual realities of how they practice faith and go about life. I mostly attend to the world of ideas, and when one does this the lines tend to get very hard and the attitudes harsh. I must be careful here. You must be careful here.

My advice? One, listen to Christian apologists who are actively reaching out to the Muslim people. Two, support mission efforts to reach Muslims and read their stuff, like missionfrontiers.org/  Three, visit a mosque and get the feel for being around real people who have lives just like you and me. Go to some of their meetings. Four, pray for meaningful contact with Muslims God can bring across your path. Five, read enough so that you get several views. I commend to you the literature of InterVarsity Press for balance and intelligence.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

Peter Kreeft and Robert Spencer debate whether or not a good Muslim is by definition a bad Muslim. In other words, to the degree that one practices Qur’anic Islam, does one become a bad Muslim, a bad person? Robert Spencer says yes. Peter Kreeft says no.

This debate gets it all out on the table. Peter Kreeft, one of my favs, is a Roman Catholic (not a fav because he is a RC), and it shows in this debate. He has a large place for other religions, believing as RCs do, that if anyone is saved, it is Christ who saves them, though in fact they may have never heard of him or perhaps even rejected him out of misunderstanding. He wants to see Christ in Islam, even though it falls short of Christian revelation. 

I think the whole debate is worth listening to. Go here

A note on religious persecution from Ramez Atallah is the General Director of the Bible Society of Egypt

John Piper posted this note form Ramez Atallah:

June 15, 2011

Dear friends,

When a million ordinary and non-violent Egyptians from all walks of life camped for 18 days in Liberation Square, the world was mesmerized by their remarkable and unprecedented show of courage and willingness to suffer for the human rights of all Egyptians.

Yet none of those who were in Liberation Square could have imagined that their defiance would not only result in undermining most authority in the country, but would also pave the way for radical Muslim groups to begin restricting true freedom and equality for all Egyptians.

Breakdown of Authority

If you challenge the President and win, you no longer fear any authority. One logical—yet unintended—result of this successful show of defiance is that nearly every sector of society is now challenging those in authority above them. . .

  • Students challenge their teachers or educational administrators
  • Employees challenge their bosses
  • Ordinary citizens challenge civil authorities
  • There is little respect for the police
  • Even the respected and formerly- feared Army is now being challenged

The many acts of violence, burning of churches, shops, and factories—not to mention the spate of kidnappings for ransom and increased petty theft—are partly the result of a misunderstanding of freedom and a lack of fear towards anyone to whom these people could be held accountable!

A sad example of this is when criminals are arrested to await trial, their friends and relatives come in the hundreds, storm the jail, overcome the police, and free the prisoners. In the past, respect—or fear—of the police’s authority would have made such acts inconceivable. Now, they are frequent occurrences. Another example is that the two men who plotted to assassinate President Sadat in 1981 have been released from jail and are now popular talk show guests!

Potential Takeover by Muslim Brotherhood

Another unintended result of the Revolution has been the paving of the way for the new Parliament to be overtaken by the well-organized Muslim Brotherhood. Having officially renounced violence many years ago, this group will protect Christians from the violent attacks we have been experiencing lately. But in establishing an Islamic state, they will undoubtedly seriously curtail what Christians can do outside their houses of worship. Undoubtedly they also will allow even less freedom than was previously available for Muslims to have religious freedom of choice.

“Christian” Rights or “Human” Rights

Many human rights groups in the West are speaking out on behalf of Christians and their security in Egypt. We are grateful for their concern, but I firmly believe that the possible establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt would most greatly affect moderate Muslims (especially women). It is their freedoms and lifestyles (dress, customs, freedom of expression etc.) that would be most restricted. Who is speaking on their behalf?

It would be much better for us if the media and human rights groups were to boldly speak up for genuine freedom of choice for all Egyptians. This would also radically reduce resentment felt against Christians when outside groups speak up on our behalf. . . .

For progress updates on our Rebuild Egypt Campaign, please click here: http://www.rebuildegypt.tenbibles.com/

Stunning Documentary on German complicity in Armenian Genocide

Along the way I have had Armenians in my congregations. Eventually the topic is going to get around to the genocide of their people by the Turks in 1915, 1.5 million deaths. This documentary demonstrates German complicity and participation in the genocide in WWI, a warm up for WWII. Some of those German officers in Turkey aware of the genocide were the very ones in Hitler’s Germany participating in the extermination of the Jews.  Of course, the Armenians were Christian by profession living in Islamic lands.  My research into Islam led me to this documentary.

I shake my head. A mere hundred years ago. What makes me believe that it could not, would not be the same today?

A couple of more books in my study of Islam

There are several resources I have been exploring in my study of Islam.

I have recently read the following books:

God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades

The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony

After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam

America Alone: The End of the Word as We Know It

Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs

The United States and the Middle East, 1914 to 9/11 – a college course from The Teaching Company

 

I will be checking out these books/articles:

Encountering the World of Islam

Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives

Three Journeys: Jesus-Constantine-Muhammad

 

 

So who’s leading your prayer meeting?

Listed below are some of those who were invited to lead the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association Friday prayers. The CMSA took down their website after some news exposure.

— Anwar al-Awlaki, the notorious Al Qaeda cleric believed to be hiding in Yemen and the lone American on the U.S. government’s capture or kill list, who conducted a prayer service on Capitol Hill shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

— Randall “Ismail” Royer, a former communications associate for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who confessed in 2004 to receiving jihadist training in Pakistan. He is serving a 20-year prison term.

— Anwar Hajjaj, former president of Taibah International Aid Association, which was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and U.N. in 2004.

— Esam Omeish, the former president of the Muslim American Society, who was forced to resign from the Virginia Commission on Immigration in 2007 after calling for “the jihad way,” among other remarks.

— Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who was forced to step down from a national terrorism committee post in 1999 for pro-terrorist comments.

— Nihad Awad, CAIR executive director, who attended a Hamas meeting in Philadelphia in 1993 that was wiretapped by the FBI.

— Johari Abdul Malik, Dar al-Hijrah imam, who made statements in support of convicted and suspected terrorists who attended his mosque.

— Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim scholar banned from the U.S. for six years beginning in 2004 for his alleged ties and donations to terror groups. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lifted Ramadan’s ban in January.

—  Abdulaziz Othman Al-Twaijri, the head of a division of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, considered a foreign agent by the U.S.

The Lonely, Murderous Sons of Allah: A Psycho-analytic View

Just read an article by Phyllis Chesler.  See vita. This article is her look at the lonely sons of polygamy, reminding us that Osama bin Laden was one of 57 children.

Both men are lonely sons of Allah, yearning for paternal attention, even affection, in a polygamous culture in which fathers have too many children and little incentive to pay close attention to any one of them. This is devastating, especially to sons, because the culture overly values fathers and men, and grossly undervalues mothers and women. Thus, the attention a son may receive from his mother (if she is not sent away, as Bin Laden’s mother was) does not make up for the missing and longed-for father.

One can only gawk at the amazing demographics and psychological dynamics this puts into play. This does not alone explain terrorism. But it can go some way to understanding drives and needs that might underlie a culture and push it in certain directions.

Do the Crusades justify continued Muslim jihad against the Christian West?

The received understanding of the Crusades is that the Church brutalized peaceful Muslims at the high point of Islamic culture and were motivated by sheer greed, barbarity and a religious triumphalism that sought conversion at the point of the sword. Osama bin Laden and many other jihadists regularly refer to the Crusades, and in innumerable discussions I have had about Christianity the Crusades have been offered as evidence of the true motivation and nature of religion and Christianity in particular.

It is such received “wisdom” that it has become the accepted explanation of the Crusades. Rodney Starks in his book, God’s Battalions: The Case for The Crusades, says, “Excuse me, but I think I have a different and better explanation.” Prof Starks is not a religious nut job writing curriculum for Christian homes schoolers. He is a respected academic.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he held appointments as a research sociologist at the Survey Research Center and at the Center for the Study of Law and Society. He left Berkeley to become Professor of Sociology and of Comparative Religion at the University of Washington. In 2004 he joined the faculty of Baylor University. He has published 30 books (see them here) and more than 140 scholarly articles

Hear Rodney Stark interviewed here.

Author Stark identifies four great lies that have become common wisdom in recent decades, all of which (he insists) are demonstrably false:

-That the Crusades were unprovoked assaults on a peaceful, enlightened, highly sophisticated Muslim civilization,

-That they were “the first round of European colonization.”

-That they were conducted for the purpose of conquest, riches, and the forced conversion of Muslims,

-That the Crusaders were brutal barbarians assaulting highly civilized Muslims who were culturally superior in every way.

In fact, with no unity of civil administration like that given by Rome before its fall in 410 AD, it was the church which stood in the gap as Islam waves of conquerors knocked at the door of Western Europe. Christian pacifists have a lot to be thankful for. The church understood the times and knew what was at stake in mobilizing Europeans to the power of arms.

There are justifiable accusations on the part of Arab peoples concerning actions of Western, Christian nations. The Crusades are not one of them. Stark has the evidence. It’s out there for all to read.

By the way, some have used such a movement of the Crusades as a call for Christendom and not just Christianity.  Christendom is the culture of Christianity mixed with the power of the state, more in the Western model than the Eastern model. In the West the Pope crowned the King but in the East the Emperor chose the Bishops. But in either case Christianity had become a cultural fact and upon it was built a political, military and economic kingdom. Today the church is largely dependent upon the good will of the state. Christendom is when the state is also dependent upon the good will of the church.