Our world thrives on a culture of hate and fear. And that’s what Islamophobia is; a hatred or fear of Muslims or of their politics or culture. In light of the recent terrorism attacks, its no wonder that many Christians have developed their own fear and suspicions of the Muslim community. Their rights and privileges are being challenged in court. Muslims are being marginalized everywhere. It is even getting to the extreme now that anyone wearing a hijab or looks middle-eastern is viewed as a possible threat to society. And the Syrian crisis only exasperates the situation further.
But you see, to hate our neighbors of whatever religious or culture affiliation is a product of the devil. The less we interact with Muslims, the more we bond with the ways of the world. The more we post about the bad things Muslims do, the more we are acting out in hate. The less we know about them, the more likely we are to act out in fear of the unknown.
Before I go any further on the defense, let me state that I believe Islam as a religion is false and that Muhammad is a false prophet. As a follower of Jesus who acknowledges the Bible as God’s authoritative word, I believe Muhammad’s revelations are false because they contradict the Bible. Faith in Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross is the only way to receive eternal life, not a merits based system as proposed in the Quran. Also, I believe if the Quran is interpreted correctly, is violent in nature. My ex-Muslim Christian friends who came from restricted countries can attest to that.
That being said, there are many ethical principles within Islam and throughout the millenia Muslims have contributed significantly and positively to the society as a whole. Had it not been for Islam (as a society), we may have lost many of our Ancient Christian texts, advancements in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Thank God that Islam hasn’t played out violently historically but rather the opposite! Islam flourished during the Dark Ages while Christianity suffered. Islam largely tolerated Christianity as long as it didn’t step on their toes (crusades). Jews co-existed peacefully with Muslims for over 500 years in Palestine. The world is a strange place. Widespread war is only recently in the 100 years or so (largely I would argue caused by the U.N and less than religious factors).
Not all Muslims are war-mongering ISIS fanatics or sleeper agents as the media would like you to believe. In fact, I’d say the majority 90% of them just want to live normal pagan lives like everyone else. They want to have a family, get a decent paying job, go to church (mosque) every so often, watch the children grow up and do well in society. I’ve had many Muslim friends throughout my life and they are FAR from the gun-toting clothing torn rag-tags of the Middle East. They’re just normal people like you and me. I’ve ate and spent time with an Iraqi, a Persian, a Pakastani, an Arab, and they were even more open to talk about God and be challenged by their faith than you would ever think.
The solution to all this is Christ-like love. 1 John 4:18 says that “Perfect love casts out all fear”. The answer is not to demonstrate hatred, but to demonstrate them Christ’s compassion for the lost. For they are no different than an Atheist, a homeless man, a blue-collar worker, a bus driver, or a struggling-single mother at daycare; everyone comes with baggage.
But you cannot reach your neighbor unless you can sympathize with what they go through. May I encourage you to take some these practical steps to look at your heart first:
- Do you know how Islam started as a religion?
- Do you know the key tenants of Islam?
- Do you know what are the two major branches of Islam and which one is the majority?
- Do you know any specific Islamic traditions?
- Do you have a friend that’s a Muslim?
If you want to learn more, I’d recommend watching the movie “Muhammad – the last prophet” (for free) which gives a brief insight into Muhammad’s early years.
Oh and just to break your bubble of what you might “think” a Muslim looks like, did you know there are Chinese Muslims too?
So what if some Syrian refugees are covert agents who will cause harm to our society. Through all this turmoil, many (hundreds of thousands) are coming to know Christ. Is that not worth the risk of taking a handful of bad apples?
Islamophobia is not the answer. Understanding our neighbor and showing Christ-like compassion is.