Since the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, Americans have been attempting to answer numerous questions about Islam. What is this religion? Who are these Muslims and why do they hate us so? Is Islam a “violent religion”? How do we deal with these people?
Christians in America are no different. I recently came across a Christian blogger who posted his thoughts as to whether or not Islam is a violent religion. There are several more I’m sure. As an American Christian living in a Muslim country I think I have something to say about this particular question as well as the host of others.
First, Christians need to ask other more pertinent questions than those about the the teachings of Islam pertaining to violence. The most important question for us is “What (if anything) does Islam/Qu’ran have to say about Jesus?” The clearer we are on this point, the easier it will be to absorb other information about Islam. I say this because our expectations of this religion and its adherents will be more accurately guided by that information than any other. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, that he did not die on the cross, that he was not raised from the dead and that he did not claim to be the Son of God. The Qu’ran contains some information about and words attributed to Jesus, but Muslims know little or nothing about the teachings of this person they accept as a prophet. Consequently, we can expect there to be significant disagreement between Christians and Muslims.
After this question, Christians need to ask how to communicate the good news of reconciliation to God through Jesus to Muslims. Honestly, I don’t have an answer to this question. Also, I’m pretty sure that the answers that apply in the States are not the answers that apply in other places of the world. Wherever we are, one answer that applies is simply this; be Jesus to them. Treat them as you want to be treated (even if they don’t reciprocate), love them and do good to them (even if they persecute you), and forgive them. Of course, we already know this, so I suppose we ought to be praying for the character of Christ to be fully formed in us so that we can be Jesus to them…and everyone else as well.
Knowing whether or not Islam is a violent religion, why they hate us (Christians and/or Americans) and whatever other answers we’re seeking will not ultimately change how we ought to relate to Muslims.
NB-But, if you’re still interested in one Muslim’s perspective on the question of Islam and violence, you can look here.