The world has witnessed Muslims celebrating Islamist attacks on the World Trade Center and other Western sites. Muslims have remained silent while Christians in Islamic countries have been slaughtered. They have protested as Israel defended herself against Hamas attacks. They have quietly accepted Muslim-on-Muslim violence: since 1948, ten million Muslims have been killed by Muslims.
I have often wondered, “Where are the moderate Muslims who long to raise their children in a stable and peaceful world? Where is their condemnation of such wanton violence?”
Of course there are secular Muslims, people born into Muslim families who have rejected Islam and embraced secularism, and these often speak out against the violence. But protests from religious Muslims have been few. One exception is Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix, Arizona, medical doctor born in Syria. Dr Jasser is a devout, “reformed” Muslim. He has boldly spoken out against the Islamist movement.
In 2003, Dr. Jasser, along with a small group of other American Muslims, formed the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to advocate for the separation of mosque and state. Kudos to Dr. Jasser. But in Muslim communities around the world, leadership condemning the violence and tactics of the jihadist movement has been, from my observation, sadly lacking.
However, recently a friend drew my attention to an article, “World’s Top Muslim Leaders Condemn Attacks on Iraqi Christians.” The article was written by Matthew Willingham, Communication Director of the Preemptive Love Coalition.
Two of the leading voices in the Muslim world denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq at the hands of extremists proclaiming a caliphate under the name Islamic State.
The most explicit condemnation came from Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the group representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims. In a statement, he officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.”
The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith, and coexistence.”
Go here to read the entire article.
Will Muslims begin to publicly challenge the jihadist narrative?
This condemnation by some of the world’s foremost Muslim leaders is not insignificant. Whether it becomes historic only time will tell. Will grassroots Muslim leaders begin to speak out against the violence? Will Muslims begin to publicly challenge the jihadist narrative and speak out against radical Muslim clerics? Will the global Muslim leaders develop communications strategies to condemn the Islamists and pressure those Muslim governments and individuals who are financing the Islamists movement?
Here’s another question: Why has the mainstream media ignored this hopeful, possibly historic event? The story was published by the little-known Preemptive Love Coalition, a small non-profit working in Iraq to bring lifesaving heart surgery to children. Thank you, Preemptive Love Coalition, for informing us about this declaration by global Muslim leaders.
Christians are seeking to reach Muslims with the gospel, and that’s good. Here’s another needed outreach strategy: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone, (Romans 12:18 NIV). Christians need to build bridges to moderate Muslims who want to live in peace in a pluralistic society.
We saw Christians and Muslims standing together three years ago when young Egyptians who longed to live free demonstrated in Cairo. At the 2011 Tahrir Square protests it was encouraging to see Christians and Muslims joining together to make common cause for freedom in Egypt.
The same context gave rise to one of the most moving scenes I have ever viewed. The video below shows Dr. Maurice Sameh, Pastor of Qasr El Dobara Church in Tahrir Square, the largest evangelical church in Egypt and the Middle East, welcoming a friend, Imam Mazhar Shaheen, from Azhar Mosque in Cairo, to a Christmas Day celebration in 2012. Watch this incredible scene and be prepared to be moved to tears by this moment of Shalom.
Let’s pray for Shalom peace to come to the troubled Middle East and North Africa. Let’s work towards securing that peace as we have opportunities to engage with Muslims and Arabs in our own communities.
– Darrow Miller
Randy UtheSeptember 1, 2014 - 5:50 pm
The moderate Muslims are indeed trying to make their voices heard around the world from US based groups, to those in Europe and the UK to those in the Middle East itself. Unfortunately their voices often get drowned out. Let’s continue to pray that they will get heard by their own people as well as by us. Here is an older but good resource on many Muslim scholar’s views and articles about Islam, extremism, terrorism and jihad. http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php
adminSeptember 2, 2014 - 4:12 am
Randy, thanks for the link. It is good to hear of those Muslims who speak out against the Islamist. May they continue to gain their voice and a hearing.
LuisaSeptember 4, 2014 - 6:15 pm
This reading it’s so good. I just have a question and it is sincerely out of doubt and not out of judgment. How can we see this joining of Christians and Muslims in Egypt as peace and not as relativism? Are we accepting our beliefs as respectable or as truth? Thank you, this webpage edify a lot.
adminSeptember 8, 2014 - 9:02 am
Thank you for your thoughtful question. Before we are Baptists and Charismatics, we are first Christians. There is more than unites us in the blood of Christ, than divides us by our denominational distinctives. Likewise Arabs and Jews are children of Abraham before they are Arabs and Jews. And further back, all human beings are children of Adam and Eve, our first parents. We are of “one blood.” We share a common humanity. None of this means that people are not different. We are! But we need to focus on our common heritage as mush as we do on on difference.
Pastor Sameh and Imam Shaheen do not share the same faith, but they may still be friends and work together as co-belligerence for the welfare of their nation.
LuisaSeptember 8, 2014 - 9:14 am
Thank you so much for your answer. It clarify to me a lot. God bless you!