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Imam Says that Saying “Merry Christmas” is Worse than Fornication and Murder

December 17th, 2011 14 comments

…oh, yes, and drinking.

Now, as much as we Christians find this offensive, consider this. This is a message that is perfectly logical and makes perfect sense from the point of view of a committed Muslim who actually believes that Islam is the only true religion and Christianity is a false religion. At least he understands this truth, even if he has it backwards.

Categories: Islam

The Religion of Peace Strikes Again: No Churches on Streets with Islamic Names in Indonesian City

September 8th, 2011 1 comment

In Indonesia, church runs afoul of Islamic street name
ENI-11-0472

By David Crampton
Wellington, New Zealand, 6 September (ENInews)–In a test case of religious intolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, an Indonesian mayor is defying court rulings by pushing for a decree to block Christians from opening churches on streets with Islamic names.

Members of the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church in the West Java town of Bogor are, after three years, still forced to worship on the sidewalk outside their building, protected by police.

The administration of Bogor mayor Diani Budiarto revoked the church’s building permit and sealed the building as the street had an Islamic name. The mayor’s office also alleged that church leaders had falsified signatures when obtaining the permit.

Local Muslim cleric Muhammad Mustofa, whose father is the street’s namesake, has publicly stated that he has no objection to the church. “Islam in Indonesia … has always interacted with Buddhism, and Christianity. We are ready to live side by side with anyone,” he told the Al Jazeera news network.

Although a verdict from Indonesia’s highest court in December, backed by the National Ombudsman Commission, favoured the church, Bogor has defied the order. Church spokesperson Bona Sigalingging said the mayor’s defiance was dangerous and unlawful. “There are many churches built on streets with Islamic names, and mosques on streets with Christian names,” he told Al Jazeera on 3 September. “This is dangerous for the unity of Indonesia … The mayor promised that he would abide by whatever decision was handed down by the Supreme Court.”

The United Nations has written to the Indonesian government expressing concern about increasing violence against religious minorities, specifically mentioning this case. Last year at least 30 churches were attacked or forced to close. Some were burned, and church members attacked.

Ombudsman Commission chairman Danang Girindrawardana  reportedly instructed Budiarto to annul the decision to revoke the permit in two weeks, or President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may move to end the standoff.

However, Yudhoyono is said to be reluctant to challenge the issue of increasingly violent Islamic intolerance as he depends on Islamic support in Parliament. The Jakarta Post, in a 21 August editorial, said if Bogor was to prevail, Indonesia risks sliding into anarchy. “We pray that the mayor will soon obey the law for the good of the nation,” the newspaper said.

Recent research by the Pew Research Centre found Indonesia was one of two countries that had recorded significant increases in religious restrictions, while the Associated Press reported 64 incidents of violence involving religious intolerance in Indonesia last year, up from 18 in 2009.

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Categories: Islam

Sign of the Times: Our Local Hijab Store

July 10th, 2011 12 comments

I’m out yesterday afternoon and my eye was caught by a new hamburger place. I love nothing more than a good burger, with a slice of cheddar cheese, preferably with purple onion, but any will do. So, I see this place, pull in and then notice on the sign, right below the hamburger place’s name is…the new Hijab Boutique in our community. Yup…a store specializing in the garments worn by observant Muslims who practice a stricter form of Islam. The Hijab refers, specifically, to the garment that covers a woman’s head and hair, but also to conservative clothing all but a woman’s hands. Here’s an article on it.

Well, there you have. Here in what could not be a more stereotypical middle class community in the middle of the Midwest, we have a Hijab store. Here are the pics:

 

Categories: Islam

Mollie Ziegler-Hemingway Interviews First Muslim Chaplain at Duke University

April 13th, 2011 1 comment

This is really a fascinating interview. A must see. Check it out.

Categories: Islam

Burn the Qur’an? No, absolutely not!

September 8th, 2010 18 comments

You’ve heard about the so-called “pastor” down in Florida who plans to burn the Qu’ran this Saturday. First, the guy is a publicity hound and his tiny little sect, consisting of no more than fifty members, are infamous in the Gainsville area for pulling stunts. The “academy” he runs down there is, to say the least, weird. You can read their “rules” here. Pastor Michael Walther had these excellent thoughts on the issue of burning the Qur’an:

“The announcement by a pastor in Florida to burn the Qur’an in a public protest has raised concerns by many. Foremost among the concerns is that radical Muslims will use the event and the images it generates as propaganda to incite violence against Christians.

“The violent activities of radical Muslims, the rampant religious intolerance in Muslim countries, and the hair-trigger sensitivity to any criticism of Islam frustrates many non-Muslims. But will it serve any purpose to use their own tactics? Absolutely not!

“The rising tide of Islam could not be possible without God’s allowance. Before we fall into the temptation to “fight fire with fire,” we need to think of our basic Christian principles. Christianity is not a religion that relies on physical force or violent protests. Christianity moves forward on the proclamation of God’s word of grace in Jesus and deeds of mercy done for the sake of our neighbors.

“Luther and his countrymen faced a much worse situation with the invasion of the Muslim Turks in the 1500s. Luther considered this invasion nothing less than punishment from God for a church and a society that had drifted from God’s word. He called the church to repentance and to renewal through the word of God. Could the American Christian church and culture stand a little reforming? I certainly think so!

“And what did he think about the Qur’an? Luther called for its publication and encouraged Christians to read it! He knew that side by side, the Bible would overwhelm the Qur’an with its truth and with its message of salvation.”

Categories: Islam

Perceptions of Islam Among Protestant Pastors

May 3rd, 2010 6 comments

Ed Stetzer shared some interesting polling results:

The Christian Post has released some brand new data about the views of Protestant pastors in regard to their views of Islam.

The article explains:

Protestant pastors in the U.S. have a negative view of Islam and more than half agree with Franklin Graham’s statement that Islam is an “evil” religion, according to a just-released study by LifeWay Research. More than 4 in 10 agree that Islam is dangerous and promotes violence.

Be sure to read the whole story here, but this excerpt may help:

Protestant pastors were asked which is closer to their beliefs: Graham’s widely reported comment that Islam is “a very evil and a very wicked religion,” or former President George W. Bush’s remark that “the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion.”
Forty-seven percent of the pastors surveyed believe Graham’s assessment of Islam is accurate, and an additional 12 percent agree with both Graham’s and Bush’s statements. Twenty-four percent agree with the former president’s statement only. The rest could not decide.

islam-hor.jpg

This graphic helps illustrate some of the other questions asked:

islam-vert.jpg

The survey indicated:

  • Three out of 4 pastors disagree with the statement, “Christians and Muslims pray to the same God”
  • Eighty-two percent say Islam is “fundamentally different from Christianity.”
  • Forty-two percent agree that Islam “promotes violence.”
  • Four in 10 say the religion is “spiritually evil.”
  • One in 3 says Islam “promotes charity.”
  • Twenty-eight percent consider the religion “relevant today.”

You can download the full PowerPoint presentation at the LifeWay Research web page.

Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts.

Categories: Islam

The Myth of Islamic Tolerance

December 30th, 2009 4 comments

Muslims and non-Muslims who live in nations where Islam is not the law of the land talk a lot about how Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Christians who live in Islamic nations tell a different story. I picked this up from Ron Dreher’s blog, who writes: “If you want to know what it’s really like to live under persecution for your Christian faith and culture, listen to this presentation by Bishop Thomas, a Copt who serves in Assiut, an area of intense Islamic persecution of Christians. I met him once, and the man is so luminous, and peaceful. It’s almost humiliating to be an American Christian, with such an easy life despite it all, and to hear what life is like for Christians in Egypt and elsewhere. If you don’t have time to watch the whole nine minute video, start at about 2:45:

Categories: Islam

Muslims in SE Asia Don’t Want Christians Using the Word Allah

July 28th, 2009 1 comment

So, some Christians think that “Allah” is a perfectly fine name for Christians to use for “God” when speaking to Muslims. Well, seems some Muslims don’t take too kindly to this. Here is a fascinating story from Christianity Today on this.

Agnes Monica is the Miley Cyrus of Southeast Asia. The Indonesian teen singer’s face is ubiquitous. Her performances are packed out. But in Selangor, Malaysia, no one is allowed to play her song “Allah Peduli” (“God Cares”). Monica is a Christian, and Malaysian law bans non-Muslims from referring to God as Allah.

The ban on “God Cares” is one application of state laws widely opposed by the island nation’s Christians and other non-Muslims. Few question whether Allah is the God of the Bible—to Malaysian Christians, Allah is simply the word for God.

The decades-old state laws have gained recent prominence through The Herald, the national Catholic newspaper. Beginning in 1998, Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs has sent letters to editor and priest Lawrence Andrew asking him to cease using Allah in the paper’s Malay edition. In 2007, the government threatened to ban the newspaper. Thus began a long legal battle, with government representatives issuing conflicting orders and the paper suing to both publish in Malay and continue its use of the theonym.

The newspaper acquired a printing permit for 2009. But on May 28, the church lost its suit to legally use Allah. A high court hearing that began July 7 should resolve the newspaper’s legal status.

Perhaps in anticipation of another unfavorable ruling, the Indonesian organization Yayasan Lentera Bangsa has published a new translation of the Bible in Indonesian. Allah does not appear in the Kitab Suci Indonesian Literal Translation (KS-ILT). Instead, the publishers transliterated Hebrew terms (such as Elohim) and substituted some less-common Indonesian names for God.

“Coincident with the forbidding of the use of Allah by non-Muslims in Malaysia, we think it is the time for us to release ourselves from the dilemma,” said editor Jahja Iskandar.

Mainstream churches, however, have been hostile to the KS-ILT. Neither the Bible Society of Indonesia nor that of Malaysia has approved the translation. The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) of Malaysia issued a statement “strongly opposing” the translation. “We continue to maintain the right to use Allah as it has been so used for over 300 years in Malaysia,” the group said.

Evangelical observers support NECF’s move. “Theologically and missiologically, Allah is a very appropriate way [for Southeast Asian Christians] to refer to God,” said Ajith Fernando, national director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka.

Christians and Muslims sometimes misunderstand Allah to be purely Islamic. Instead, it is the Arabic word for God and a close semantic relative of the Hebrew El.

Christians have used the word for centuries, and the conflict is not new. A Wycliffe translator who has been in the region for several years said this debate began when the first Bible was published in Malay, using Allah, in 1985.

The Herald’s leadership and the NECF see the debate as a matter of freedom rather than linguistics. They are concerned that the law marginalizes non-Muslims, who make up almost half of Malaysia’s population.

Andrew says the crackdown on his newspaper indicates “the country is moving away from the multireligious and multiethnic composition that negotiated independence from the British to a domination of one race over all.”

In addition to the linguistic and human rights aspects of the debate, Malaysian Christians must also keep missiology in mind.

An Allah-free translation into a Malay language can be done correctly, but it would be confusing, said the Wycliffe translator. Importing a word for God instead of using the most accessible local term often causes people to think of God himself as a foreign import.

“My opinion is that using Allah in Indonesia is strategic, if the point is to have people understand who Christ is,” said the translator, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The negative impact of not using it is that it would make it harder for a Muslim to pick up a Bible.”

On the other hand, the controversy itself may make Allah a less appropriate term, said Fernando. “We want to make the Muslims our friends. We are not there to defeat them in a battle or an argument. We want them to come to Christ,” he said. “This is the practical reality we have to bow down to, although theologically it may be unnecessary.”

Should Christians in Malaysia stop calling God Allah? If so, Fernando said, it would be for reasons other than accurate translation. “The only advantage is to avoid outrage,” he said. “I can’t see any other advantage.”
• Susan Wunderink

Source

Categories: Islam

An Open Letter and Call to Christians from Muslims

October 16th, 2007 4 comments

This is an extremely important letter and it is well worth our attention. Here is the text of the open letter sent to Christian leaders by a large group of Muslim clerics, scholars and religious leaders.

Download MuslimLetter.pdf

How should Christian leaders respond faithfully to this letter?
How can Lutherans offer a unique response based on our doctrine of the two kingdoms and our understanding of Christian vocation?
What are the fundementally flawed premises reflected in the Muslim letter?
What are the fundmentally correct premises reflected in the Muslim letter?

Categories: Islam

Allah and Jesus: Same God?

December 5th, 2006 6 comments

Bob Waters has mined another golden nugget. Kudos Bob. This is a fascinating article on a very important question: Who is the one, true God? Is Allah merely the Muslim version of the Blessed Trinity? Do Muslims actually worship, believe in, and pray to the one, true God when they address their prayers to Allah? Sadly, there have been some in The LCMS who have succombed to the popular misconceptions surrounding these questions. Read on for more on this subject, from National Review Online.

Which One God?
Comparing the Muslim and Christian conceptions of God.

By Bat Yeor

With
the passing of time, hidden challenges, which for a long time had been
growing unnoticed and unaddressed, can suddenly emerge into the
full-blown light of current events with a force which seems quite
overwhelming. Today the Western world, or Judeo-Christian civilization,
shaken by jihadist terror, is being rudely awakened to theological
realities blurred for decades. From clashes of civilizations to the
jihad that is declaring to the planet its genocidal intentions,
rational discourse concerning faith is becoming increasingly fraught.

Read more…

Categories: Islam

I’ve Been Wondering About Believing In and Worshiping the One True God

March 24th, 2006 12 comments

Wondering
The story about the man who may be executed in Afghanistan for his conversion to Christianity got me to thinking. I found myself wondering why it is that if Christians and Muslims actually do believe in and worship the one, true God, a person can be put to death for worshipping Christ, intead of Allah in Muslim nations that follow strict Islamic law? And for that matter, if Muslims do in fact believe in and worship the one, true God, why should we be concerned if people are Muslim instead of Christian? Sometimes we hear people say something like this: "The Muslim God is also the true God (there is only one true God, right?) but worshiped in an inadequate way."

Finally I had to ask myself, "Was Jesus wrong when He said ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also’ "(John 8:19; ESV)? If it is true that Jews do worship and believe in the one true God, though they deny Christ as Messiah and Lord, then Jesus must have been wrong. If it is true that Muslims and other non-Christians actually do believe in and worship the one true God, even while rejecting Jesus Christ, then Jesus was a liar.

The operative words here are "believe" and "worship" and "one, true God." Let this much be clear, as one would hope it would be. Muslims absolutely do not believe in, or worship, the one true God. To say this is not in any way to deny the natural knowledge that there is a god. But as Paul makes clear in Romans 1, this natural knowledge is corrupted by sin and men turn to the worship of false gods (Romans 1:21 "Although they knew
God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they
became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were
darkened"). This is precisely what happens when you believe in and worship any god other than the One, True, God. In other words, the corruption of the natural knowledge of God is dramatically evident when people do not worship the Most Blessed and Holy Trinity, but turn to false gods, such as the Muslim "Allah."

Here are a few Luther quotes on the subject that I find particularly instructive:

"When the Turks go into battle their only war cry is “Allah! Allah!” and they shout it till heaven and earth resound. But in the Arabic language. Allah means God, and is a corruption of the Hebrew Eloha. For they have been taught in the Koran that they shall boast constantly with these words, “There is no God but God.” All that is really a device of the devil. For what does it mean to say, “There is no God but God,” without distinguishing one God from another? The devil, too, is a god, and they honor him with this word; there is no doubt of that. Therefore I believe that the Turks’ Allah does more in war than they themselves. He gives them courage and wiles; he guides sword and fist, horse and man. What do you think, then, of the holy people who can call upon God in battle, and yet destroy Christ and all God’s words and works, as you have heard?” (American Edition 46:183).

“All people who say that they mean the true God who created heaven and earth are lying. They do not accept His work and Word but place their own thoughts above God and His Word. If they truly believed in a God who created heaven and earth, they would also know that as Creator this same God is also above their thoughts and possesses the same authority to make, break and do as He pleases. But since they do not let Him be the Creator above them and their thoughts in so small a matter, it cannot be true that they believe [Glaube] Him to be the Creator of all creation.” (Walch 10.I.1:241)

“It does Jews, Turks, and heretics no good to profess a very great devoutness and to boast against us Christians that they believe in the one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and also call him “Father” with intense earnestness. For all that, their worship consists of nothing except futile and useless words that they use to take the name of God in vain and misuse it, against the Second Commandment. . . Here you see that when they do not know who God is; and when they call Him “Creator” and “God” and “Father,” they don’t know what they are actually saying…Therefore they have no God, but they misuse the name of “God” in sin and shame and invent their own god and creator, who is supposed to be their father and whose children they profess to be.” (St.L 3:1932)

“Jews, Turks, and Tartars all esteem Christ and His mother Mary very highly. But they do not believe [glaube] that He is the Son of God, in whom one must believe and through whom all are saved. . . .  Therefore, the faith of the Jews and the Turks is nothing but sheer blindness, for they exclude the Son and want to retain only the Father. This is the chief article of our Christian faith: that the Son is eternal and true God, and also true man, sent into the world for its salvation. This article annuls the belief [glaube] of the Jews, the Turks, and all others who renounce the Son and thus worship another god and look to another source for help. The Turk is not able to pray the Lord’s Prayer or the articles of the Creed. Faith, to which God alone is entitled, is the chief type of worship. For we are not to believe in angels, prophets, or apostles. No, this divine honor is due the Son alone; for He is true God with the Father. John treats this article very intensively. . . . If I earnestly believe that Christ is true God and that He became our Savior, I will never deny this but will proclaim it publicly against the Turks, the world, the pope, the Jews ,and all the sects. I will confess that it is true. I would rather forfeit my life or jeopardize my property and honor than disavow this. Wherever faith is genuine, it cannot hold its tongue; it would rather suffer death. Such faith will also confess God’s Word before tyrants. To be sure, it will encounter all sorts of trials and temptations from the devil, as the martyrs amply demonstrate.” (AE 22:392-393).

“Turks and Jews boast a lot about God and claim to have a better faith than we Christians. They say they cannot be wrong. They say that they believe [Glaube] in one God, who created heaven and earth and everything else. This kind of faith certainly can not be wrong, they think. Christ, however, here concludes: ‘He who hates Me, hates my Father.” Now, since Turks and Jews hate Christ and persecute His Word, they certainly also hate the God who has created heaven and earth. They do not believe [Glaube] in Him and they do not honor Him. For Christ is the same one God.” (StL 13a, 1285).

Here are some quotes from Luther’s Large Catechism on the subject:

“As I have often said, the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true God. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you have not the true God.” (Large Catechism, Tappert, p. 365).

"You can easily judge how the world practices nothing but false worship and idolatry. There has never been a people so wicked that it did not establish and maintain some sort of worship. Everyone has set up a god of his own, to which he looked for blessings, help, and comfort… Everyone made into a god that to which his heart was inclined. Even in the mind of all the heathen, therefore, to have a god means to trust and believe. The trouble is that their trust is false and wrong, for it is not founded upon the one God, apart from whom there is truly no god in heaven or on earth. Accordingly the heathen actually fashion their fancies and dreams about God into an idol and entrust themselves to an empty nothing. So it is with all idolatry. Idolatry does not consist merely of erecting an image and praying to it. It is primarily in the heart, which pursues other things and seeks help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils. It neither cares for God nor expects good things from him sufficiently to trust that he wants to help, nor does it believe that whatever good it receives comes from God.” (Large Catechism, Tappert, pp. 366-377).

“Whoever knows that in Christ he has a gracious God, truly knows God, calls upon him, and is not, like the heathen, without God. For the devil and the ungodly do not believe this article concerning the forgiveness of sin, and so they are at enmity with God, cannot call upon him, and have no hope of receiving good from him.” (Tappert, p. 44).

“For pagans had something of a knowledge of God from the law of nature, but at the same time they did not truly know him nor did they truly honor him (Rom. 1[:19-32]). (Kolb/Wengert, p. 585.)

Let’s let God’s Holy Word have the final say here:

“We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.” John 8:41

Again, Holy Scripture: “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you.” John 17:25

Again, Holy Scripture: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ Rom. 10:14-15.

Again, Holy Scripture: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Cor. 2:14

Again, Holy Scripture: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God-or rather are known by God-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” Galatians 4:8-9

Again, Holy Scripture: “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)- remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

Again, Holy Scripture: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do
not know God. I Thess. 4:3-5 

Again, Holy Scripture: “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. I John 2:22-23

Again, Holy Scripture: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does
not know us is that it did not know him.” I John 3:1

Again, Holy Scripture: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” I John 4:1-3

Again, Holy Scripture: “We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” I John 4:6

Again, Holy Scripture: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true-even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” I John 5:19-21

“Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes,
you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but
he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I
am from him and he sent me." John 7:28-29

Again, Holy Scripture: “Then they asked him, "Where is your father?"
"You do not know me or my Father," Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you
would know my Father also.” John 8:19 .

 

With Friends Like These….

March 20th, 2006 2 comments

From our great ally on the War on Terrorism, the country whose freedom we won by spilling American blood, come this news. But I’m so glad to read that they are not against any particular religion in the world, they only kill people who convert to Christianity in their country.

Afghan Man Faces Death for Allegedly Converting to Christianity   

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan man who allegedly converted from Islam to Christianity is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death, a judge said Sunday.

The defendant, Abdul Rahman,
was arrested last month after his family went to the police and accused
him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told the
Associated Press in an interview. Such a conversion would violate the
country’s Islamic laws.

Rahman, who is believed to be 41, was charged with rejecting Islam when his trial started last week, the judge said.

During the hearing, the defendant allegedly confessed that he
converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago when he was 25 and
working as a medical aid worker for Afghan refugees in neighboring Pakistan, Mawlavezada said.

Afghanistan’s constitution is based on Shariah law, which states
that any Muslim who rejects their religion should be sentenced to death.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in
Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said.
"It is an attack on Islam. … The prosecutor is asking for the death
penalty."

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said the case was the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

He said that he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman changed his religion back to Islam, but the defendant refused.

Mawlavezada said he would rule on the case within two months.

Afghanistan is a deeply conservative society and 99 percent of its 28 million people are Muslim. The rest are mainly Hindus.

Categories: Islam

What? They all read Danish now?

February 6th, 2006 2 comments

What? They All Understand Danish?

By Uwe Siemon-Netto

This Monday, Feb. 6, the Issues etc. program of station KFUO in St. Louis will continue its series of interviews on lay vocation. This series deals with God’s many callings to service in the temporal realm. In view of the current riots in Islamic countries over the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper allegedly depicting Mohammed as a terrorist, I shall once again reflect on the vocation of the media.

–0–

Forgive me for being perplexed. How come so many Arabs, Pakistanis, Iranians and Indonesians understand Danish? How come thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them whirl around like dervishes, torching northern European embassies, churches and shops because of a series of cartoons that appeared in “Jyllands-Posten,” an irrelevant local rag compared to which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the stature of the New York Times, to say the least?

Watching that seemingly demented rabble of bearded young men waving the green flag of Islam, I am tempted to wonder whether they belong to the same species of homo sapiens as I. But then I recall old documentaries showing my fellow Germans screeching just as hysterically in proclamation of Hitler’s glory. Hence I concur with a German colleague that, like Nazism, the radical variety of Islam we are observing today is comparable to the drug Ecstasy. It simply deprives its junkies of their senses.

It is strange that of the many memorable dicta of philosophers past I find myself quoting an aphorism by René Descartes (1596-1650) most often: Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am). If Descartes is right, then those mobs I watch on television simply do not exist because surely they aren’t thinking.

If they used their brains they would surely realize that the ones dishonoring Islam are not some editors and artists, however gratuitously klutzy, in some one-horse Nordic town. No, if Islam has acquired – rightly or wrongly – a terrible name around the globe these days it is because of the following horrors committed before the eyes of a gasping world:

n       Men and women having their heads chopped off for the “crime” of converting to Christianity, as happens in Saudi-Arabia;
n       People being lashed in public because they attended Christian worship services;
n       Christians being crucified, as has happened in Sudan;
n       Innocent men and women being kidnapped and having their throats slit in God’s name, a regular occurrence in Iraq;
n       Fervent Muslims hijacking passenger planes and flying them into New York skyscrapers, killing thousands;
n       Hundreds of commuters dying in bombing attacks on Spanish trains – “in the name of God,”
n       Muslim fanatics outfitting young men and women with belts containing explosives,  promising them 72 virgins in the afterlife,  and then sending them out as walking bombs to kill and maim Israeli civilians – in Allah’s name;
n       Young men and women willing to become suicide bombers;
n       Palestinians giving Hamas, which organization is more responsible than most for these outrages, the majority of their votes;
n       Palestinians torching the Gaza offices of the European Union, which until now has kept their administration going financially.

I could append this list ad infinitum but I guess I have made my point. Now one is tempted to lean back and say: Clearly, these maniacs have lost their minds but thank God the rest of us haven’t. But if, according to Descartes, thinking is proof of existence, then I wonder about the existence of those Danish editors whose superfluous publication of those cartoons have endangered human lives – indeed cost human lives; riots in Afghanistan have already caused at least two deaths.

Not that I am favoring censorship here; a U.S. State Department spokesman was clearly out of line when he criticized the Danish paper for printing those cartoons – and other European and New Zealand publications for reprinting them. It is not for government officials to question the exercise of the freedom of expression and of the press in other free countries. But it is the calling of journalists to exercise self-restraint, and to counsel their colleagues in this way. And I am a journalist.

It cannot have escaped the attention of those editors that our world today is like a powder keg, which the tiniest spark could ignite. Having a bit of graceless fun with Mohammed could be one of those sparks that could easily be avoided.

The media are often chided for the infantile self-importance displayed by far too many of their practitioners. The current crisis is only one case in point. Another was the recent decision by “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” a highly reputable German newspaper, to blabber needlessly about the activities of the BND, Germany’s equivalent of the CIA, in Iraq. Two BND officers, the paper alleged in an unsubstantiated report, helped the U.S. military in selecting targets for rocket attacks in the early phase of the Iraq war.

To anybody with brains this report seemed an open invitation to terrorists to plant bombs in Germany and to target Germans in Iraq as supposed “spies.” And, sure enough, a few days later two German engineers were abducted by insurgents threatening to kill them. As of this writing their fate is unknown.

“Cogito ergo sum” – René Descartes, where are you now that the world needs you?

 

Uwe Siemon-Netto, Ph.D.  D.Litt.
Director
Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation, St. Louis, M.O.

Categories: Islam

On the other hand…what would upset us so much?

February 6th, 2006 2 comments

I had a good exchange with my brother about the outrage in the Islamic world over the Prophet Mohammed being depicted in a disrespectful way.  Here it is:

Hey Paul …

I just had a thought reading the headlines about this Danish cartoon causing such an uproar in the middle east.   It made me think – what a huge huge contrast to how the USA christians react to all the garbage that goes totally against the God we worship.   Amazing.   We let people get away with anything under "freedom of speach" which you have to agree with and look at how the other cultures react.

Part of me thinks the reaction isn’t all bad.   From an outside perspective if someone looked at the two cultures and situations, which one would you say takes their beliefs more seriously?

Perhaps my logic is totally flawed, but the thought just came to mind while I was reading the news.   Maybe something good for your BLOG thingy!

Of course, if you use any idea or concept like this, you will have to give me credit since it is now copyrighted as my intellectual property!   
(Kidding of course)

My response to my brother:

Hi Phil,

I was reflecting and pondering all this too!

On the one hand, it does paint a rather stark contrast between our
culture and their’s when it comes to how close we hold our beliefs.
They may be nuts and of course storming an embassy and burning is not a
proper response…but….is part of the reason we Western folks can’t
fathom this is because we can’t fathom such depth of commitment to
one’s faith? What would make us so outraged that we would want to storm another company’s embassy
and burn it? Anything??

I was thinking a big ashamed when I thought about the art exhibit that
put a crucifix in a jar of urine, titled "piss Christ" — this happened
quite some time ago now. Why was there not a greater uproar? Do we
Christians have to take everything "lying down" in this country? Does
freedom of expression mean freedom to denigrate other people’s beliefs? I’m not advocating burning people’s property, but do Christians just have to remain silent in this nation when our faith is beseiged by pop culture?

I’m going to blog on this, using our exchange.

Love you!
Paul

Categories: Islam

The Next Front: Iran

February 5th, 2006 1 comment

An informative article on the disturbing beliefs of Iran’s president.

‘Divine mission’ driving Iran’s new leader.

The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad’s piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president’s belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

One of the first acts of Mr Ahmadinejad’s government was to donate about 10 million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the pious come to drop messages to the Hidden Imam into a holy well.

All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour – denied by the government but widely believed – is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a "contract" pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi and sent it to Jamkaran.

Iran’s dominant "Twelver" sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.

Categories: Islam