The rise of secularism is leading many Muslims away from the Islamic faith. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey of American Muslims reveals that about 24% of those raised in Islam have left the faith. This trend is not just a Western phenomenon, as The Telegraph explains: “Islam is facing a wave of desertion by young Muslims suffering from a crisis of faith … Even deeply conservative countries with strict anti-apostasy regimes like Pakistan, Iran, and Sudan have faced desertions.” It concludes, “The trend has been described as a ‘ticking bomb’ with a new generation of educated Muslims starting to question the fundamentals of their faith.” This includes Arabs, many of whom (according to Facebook), are atheists. Incredibly, Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, is the most…
Uyghur Genocide: Standing up for Persecuted Muslims
Some have questioned whether or not what is going on is physical genocide of Uyghurs, however, forced sterilization, involuntary contraception, and systematic suppression of birth rate certainly sound like it. Genocide is defined as killing a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group. In Xinjiang, there is a deliberate attempt to diminish them, and estimates are that the growth rate among the Uyghurs decreased 60 percent from 2015-2018. This paper suggests…
The answer to this question must be an emphatic NO! There are plenty of situations where Islamists do not resort to violence. But at the same time they face a real dilemma. They want their society to be more consistently Islamic; but how are they to achieve this goal? Are they to work for a gradual and peaceful Islamisation of the country, or are they justified in using force to win power? And what happens when violence is done to them? These dilemmas can be illustrated from the history of one particular Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last night my church held a Seder (a special meal during Pesach—Passover). Over 280 people showed up to have a rabbi lead us through the Haggadah (a booklet containing the prayers and actions comprising the Seder) and explain the symbolism in the celebration. The attendees were Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
The conversation at our table was very interesting. We agreed that we would all share a typical prayer that we offer up before a meal began. The rabbi mentioned how hand washing was an important part of the initial ceremonies and the Muslims were able to tie this to the ritual ablution Muslims perform before their daily prayers. All of us were able to relate to the Passover theme of God rescuing people from oppressions of all sorts as well as His faithfulness in the presence of our repeated disobedience.
An interesting thing happened when the conversation came to the relationship between God’s grace and God’s justice in the world. The Jews and the Muslims were on the same page with this issue, but they listened very carefully when the Christians spoke about how they see God’s grace is larger than His justice. One of the Muslims jumped in and said that a hadith qudsi (a saying of Muhammad where the words were believed to have come from Allah but voiced by Muhammad) said that God’s mercy prevails over his wrath. The rabbi said that this is exactly how Judaism saw it. It didn’t need to be spoken how close we were on this issue but how we voiced it in very different terms that often get confused.
We had covered some sticky points that are often exploited in the media, and there are many more difficult questions of faith to be touched upon, but we had developed the beginnings of important relationships. I didn’t have a word for what had happened, but then I remembered one of the parts of the Seder in which the Jews chant “Da-yenu” which means “and that would have been enough.” One of the phrases in the chant is, “and He fed us with manna in the wilderness’ everyone then responding “Da-yenu.” I remembered that the word “manna” means “what is it?” It is a question that is the recognition of a miracle while also recognizing that there are things we still don’t know about it. I like it. This Seder was manna. *
*The word “manna” also appears within the Qur’an at least three times. One time in a phrase that means “food from heaven.”