Christian Compassion and the Muslim
Christians should see radical Islam as an opportunity to share the cross with Muslim world in desperate need.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that the one region on earth that posts the greatest threat to America and Western Civilization itself happens to be the 1040 Window? 1040 Window.org is a ministry which shares the good news of Christ with people in nations who have yet to hear it.?
The very parts of this planet where people have never had the opportunity to hear the Good News and have the slightest idea of who Jesus Christ is, also happens to be where the terrorism and hatred that spawned 9-11 were birthed.
They Did It for Allah
Despite efforts by certain individuals and organizations to denounce the terrorist attacks as “un-Islamic,” the perpetrators of the countless attacks we’ve seen in recent years have all carried out their deeds with one thing in common, they did it for Allah. In fact, many of their last words were, “Allah Akhbar,” meaning “God is Great”.
Since 9-11, the world’s fascination and fear of Islam has spawned out of control. From documentaries on the faith, to books exploring the roots of jihad, to even Focus on the Family’s own special series on radical Islam last summer, we’re all curious as to what Islam is all about.
There’s no denying that Christians and Muslims alike have their problems. But, the treachery stemming out of the Islamic world these days is hard to ignore. From a gang-rape victim in Saudi being sentenced to 200 lashes for being in public with a man other than her own relative, to a teacher being sentenced to 40 lashes and 15 days in jail for allowing a student to name a teddy bear, “Mohammed,” the list goes on and on.
The problem with our perception of Islam and the Middle East these days is that it’s derived from a biased media whose whole mantra is, “bad news is good news.” Of course the hideous stories we hear are devastating and appalling; but would you expect otherwise from a place where Christianity and the love of Christ is basically completely devoid?
Challenge for Christians
The challenge to the Christian community is to look past these horrific occurrences in the Islamic world and see the situation for what it is… an amazing opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ.
Fouad Masri, a Lebanese Christian here in America, started an organization called the Crescent Project. CP’s goal is to encourage Christians to stop seeing Muslims as the enemy and start seeing them as the prize. Fouad says, “Our job is not to make the Muslim a Christian. Our job is to show them [Muslims] the love of Christ.”
For too long, we’ve harbored fears and misunderstandings of the Muslim world. Not that we must be ignorant to the radical Jihadists who want to wipe us off the face of the earth, but again, do you expect anything more from a society, culture and faith which suppresses critical thought?
Despite what we’re told from the academics and theologians here in the West, to truly study and grasp the essence of Islam and the Middle East, one should focus on that particular region as a reference point, not some obscure local mosque outside of Los Angeles.
Fastest Growing Religion
The fact of the matter is that Islam is world’s fastest growing religion. True, most new adherents of the faith can be attributed to demographics rather than enthusiastic (not by the sword) conversions, but it should be recognized that the Islamic faith is extremely evangelical, and by that I mean that proselytism is strongly encouraged. In fact, in Egypt, there are cash rewards for Muslims who get Christians to convert to Islam.
I recently took my first trip to the Middle East and perhaps the greatest takeaway for me was the realization of the importance religion plays in the Arab World. As Americans, we’ve grown accustomed to suppressing our faith and holding it as a private, personal matter. But in the Middle East, religion is anything but private and personal – it defines your very being.
With religion (Islam) so deeply embedded in the culture of the Middle East, it’s no wonder that our government’s initiatives to “strike peace” have failed time and time again—it is a religious problem that requires a religious solution.
Trying endlessly to quell the woes of radical jihad through solely diplomatic and militaristic endeavors is a lost cause. Not to discredit the important roles our government and military play, but it’s imperative for the American Christian community to recognize the spiritual component of the struggle which we’re up against.
A good friend of mine, Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former Jihadist-turned-Muslim Reformer, has been preaching against the very violence and hate-filled ideology which he was taught while a child in Cairo. In fact, as a member of the terrorist network Jemma Islameia in medical school, one of Tawfik’s accomplices was none other than fellow doctor Ayman Al-Zawaheri (al-Qaeda’s #2 leader).
Yet, today Tawfik has chosen to refute that radical ideology and preaches a message of peace and reformation. “I want to teach Muslims about the love of Jesus Christ”, he says. “The greatest problem in the Muslim world today is that they have no love in their hearts.”
Despite no attacks on our homeland since 9-11, radical Islam is alive and well, and the only thing that will conquer it is the love of Jesus Christ. To learn more about how you can get involved and share the Hope with a Muslim in your community, visit www.CrescentProject.org.
Matthew Taylor is with the Friess Family Foundation, an organization devoted to providing relevant, empowering information on issues transforming the nation.
Copyright Matthew Taylor March 2008. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.