October 31, 2018
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Today the supreme court of Pakistan acquitted Asia Bibi of all the charges against her. Mrs. Bibi, who is Roman Catholic, was found guilty of blasphemy in 2010 and condemned to death. The incident allegedly took place during a dispute with several Muslims over a glass of water.
Radical Islamist leaders in Pakistan consider this verdict an intolerable affront to Islam and are threatening violence in the streets and calling for the death of the supreme court judges. To be clear, Mrs. Bibi’s defence lawyer and the judges are all Muslims, we must not tar all Pakistanis and all Muslims with the same brush. But Islamist militants appear to have no respect for anything that differs from their view of how society should work.
Yesterday in the U.S.A., President Trump and his wife Melania were in Pittsburgh to show their respect for those who lost their lives, or were injured, in last Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. From the vitriol of those who protested his visit it would seem that he has committed blasphemy against some people’s idea of sacred truth. At least there were no death threats.
Some people do not like Donald Trump, that is permitted in a democratic society. But what has happened to the concept of civil debate and respect for the office of the president?
June 6, 2017
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I have been musing about the Islamist terrorist attacks in Europe and North America; who are these attacks really targeting? Is it the terrorists goal to make Western nations more favourable to the aspirations of Muslim people and nations around the world? I think we can give them credit for being smart enough to know that isn’t going to work.
Our governments have shown admirable restraint in the comments they make about the supposed religious motivation of these attacks. The same cannot be said about all the citizens. There is a portion of the populace who have voiced suspicions about all the Muslims now present in our nations. Often it goes beyond mere suspicion to statements that no one if the Muslim faith can be trusted. Some of these statements are coming from people who self-identify as Christian.
Is this perhaps the real goal of the terrorists? To make Muslims in our countries feel marginalized, to fear that they will never be accepted and trusted? That makes fertile ground for Islamist propaganda among Muslim young people.
How are Muslims going to know that love permeates the foundation of the Christian faith,if supposedly Christian people are actively promoting distrust of Muslims?
Earlier this year, after a shooting at a mosque in Québec City, Philippe Couillard, Prime Minister of Québec told people that words matter and that we should endeavour to get our facts straight before we speak and write. He also spoke of the need to talk to each other and suggested: “The next time you walk past someone of the Muslim community, why don’t you stop and say hello?” That’s good advice.
Nabeel Qureshi, author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and Answering Jihad gives the same kind of advice. He advises Christians to reach out to the Muslims around us and develop friendships, but not to expect overnight conversions. It will probably take years for a Muslim to make the step of trusting Jesus rather that Allah. But many have done that, including Qureshi himself. First we have to convince them that Christians are not their enemies, even if we do not worship Allah.