Monday, July 30, 2012

"A History of Christian-Muslim Relations" by Hugh Goddard.

I just finished reading "A History of Christian-Muslim Relations" by Hugh Goddard. The book is a history of the dialogue between Christianity and Islam from the start of the Islamic period to the 1990s. It gave a great summary of what has happened over this period and what I found very useful was that is mentioned names I was already familiar with but it put these people in their context. The author has a liberal approach which is not my position but the book did not promote this view till right near the end.

There are a few short comings though of the book. It mainly dealt with the official dialogue of religious leaders and not dialogue at the grass roots level. This is particularly relevant in the age of the internet where so much grass roots discussion is happening. Also, it did not explore the very real restrictions that non-Muslims face when trying to engage with Islam.

My question to us is, if we were to write a chapter for Muslim-Christian dialogue for our period what would we say are the characteristics? What is our story in the history of Christian-Muslim dialogue?

8 comments:

Samuel Green said...

Here are some points that I think mark our age.

1. The Internet has allowed a networking of Christians and Muslims in a way that has not happened before.

2. There is now an availability of Islamic source material that is easy to access.

3. This has allowed the "grass roots" global conversation between Christians and Muslims.

4. Anyone can speak not just religious officials.

VJ said...

@Samuel
Could you give us Insights from your debate with Imran, We are waiting to see the Video.
I know you must have done well :)

Radical Moderate said...

Samuel Green I dont know if this is what your looking for.

One of the most striking things I have noticed over the last decade of interacting with Muslims since 2001 is what seems to be a switch from open Jihadi propaganda and rhetoric, to a kinder gentler flavor of Islam.

Don't get me wrong the Jihadi propaganda is still there you just have to dig deep and pry to bring it out.

This could be do to a number of factors.

1. The Muslims that I interact with now are younger. Some of them not even teenagers when 9-11 happened.

2. Al Quida in Iraq had a devastating effect on the Jihadi movement.

3. The impact of law enforcement on those that would openly threaten to kill people has seemed to quiet them down a bit.

A few examples of what I mean.

My interest in Islam originality was one of politics after 9-11. I remember how open Muslims where on line with praising Osama Bin Ladden, the Taliban and Al Quida.

I seriously believe I spoke with some young Muslims who are no longer in the land of the living because they where either killed by US forces or they blew themselves up.

With the invasion of Iraq the level of propaganda and rhetoric increased ten fold.

I remember hearing American and Western reverts to Islam celebrating and praising when american troops where killed in a road side bomb.

One woman revert from Canada with a sweet voice said Her cousin is in Afghanistan and she "would not cry" for him if he was killed. "He got what he deserved."

However begging around 2006 and the carnage that Al Quida brought I noticed a turn in the propaganda. All of a sudden Osama Bin Ladden was no longer called "Sheikh" by an increasing number of Muslims.

Another point that sticks out in my mind is a few years ago, a Muslim was spouting on the mic about how Osama Bin Ladden was great and how Muslims have forgotten about him and the Mujahadeen, and how he was questioned by the FBI and how he denied that he supported Osama Bin Ladden.

The room owner took away his microphone and said to him.

"So you just admitted that you lied to the FBI in a open room, your not very bright" and he kicked him out of the room.

Also take note that a year or so ago Sammi Zatari publicly debated on a Radio program in England a Radical Muslims who had just got out of prison. I would say Sammi did not have a leg to stand on theologically speaking, but he earned my respect and he did his best and for that I applaud him.

So I think on a political level there has been a change.

I'm just saying: said...

All I've ever received in dialogue with a muslim is curses and name calling.

crujjy said...

I'm evangelizing to a Muslim in the United Kingdom, who only found out what Islam teaches after he finally got internet access. Didn't take him long to follow his instincts and leave. I'd say the information age is dramatically changing things, since Muslims can only lie so many times when a hostile takeover of a nation will be reported worldwide. Islam's days are numbered, but unfortunately there's probably a lot of them left.

GreekAsianPanda said...

Very good points, Green.

I would like to add a lesser point and some details, regarding the use of the Internet by Christians and Muslims for communication and talking about religion:

The Internet, while it does provide a platform for regular dialogue between Christians and Muslims, also provides another level on which to foster sectarian conflict (whether physical or not). It makes it easier for co-religionists to spread negative ideas about the other religion or the religion's adherents on websites and forums, thus changing the perception of Christianity in the minds of Muslim Internet-users and Islam in the minds of Christian Internet-users. This does not necessarily lead to hostile behavior from anyone (and this isn't to say this blog shouldn't criticize Islam), but it can and does, and this can also be facilitated by the Internet. Death-threats can easily be issued over email (I'm sure David is very aware of this), and perceived blasphemy (e.g. calling for people to draw pictures of Muhammad on a website) can cause real-life violence. Those who are already frustrated by adherents of a religion (e.g. Anders Breivik) can easily find a reason on the Internet (in Breivik's case, the writings of counter-jihadists) to justify harming others. (I AM NOT saying that criticizing a religion on the Internet alone will lead to terrorist activity.) Muslims and Christians may also engage in cybersectarian actions like hacking websites. (The link above leads to information about Islamic hactivists, but it can probably be safely assumed that, since the Internet has been around long enough, Christian hackers have hacked Islamic websites, too.)

So while the Internet enhances Christian-Muslim dialogue, it doesn't discriminate between positive and negative dialogue and opens wider the potential for hostility.

Billy said...

This is off topic and I am not sure if this was posted here, but really worth watching.

Man tries to grab Olympic Torch while shouting Allah Hu Akbar in Gravesend (2012)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdNdVFQfbo8

Naren said...

Dear Brothers,

We are having a public refutation of Zakir Naik in Mumbai, India on Aug 25, 2012. Please do come for the programme if possible. Details are available on: http://www.youtube.com/user/SakshiApologetics

Please fwd the link to like minded people you know, post on your facebook account, etc... Thank you and GOD BLESS.

In Christ


Naren