Everyday Muslims are being assigned biased identities by the media. How can we as Christians keep from doing the same and how can doing the opposite help us to be a better witness?

Hitler PictureA lone man refusing to do the Nazi salute, 1936

Theme Music by: Nobara Hayakawa – Trail
Sponsor Music by: Drunk Pedestrians – Mean
Interlude Music by:
Chris Zabriski – CGI Snake
Kabul Dreams – Shahab


Here starts the auto-generated transcription of Lessons from an Apple Barrel and The Dangers of Assigning Identity:



Muskogee County sheriff’s deputies are increasing patrols around a gun shop and a shooting range in the small town of Oktaha tonight. They’re watching over the business because the owners are getting death threats. This after they posted a sign proclaiming their business, a Muslim free establishment. Casey Robuck has some new information from Oktaha. Oktaha.


This sign proclaiming the business to be a Muslim free zone has incited controversy around the country. It’s also brought threats to the family that owns the business. And that’s why volunteers calling themselves patriots are protecting the store. Today, they met a fellow veteran with very different views, and he received a surprising welcome. Outside, save yourself survival and tactical gear, armed patriots from around the state, even around the country, patrol the property.


This after the owners received death threats after posting this sign. The patriots we spoke to asked that we not use their actual names. They say they are past military who felt compelled to protect the family who owns the business. They say for them, this isn’t about religion. It’s about protecting freedom of speech.


If you believe that you’re that you’re being being script of your rights, we would be there right next to them. Be there right next to them fighting for their rights too and fighting to protect them. Excuse me, sir. You’re on private property right now and While we were talking with the Patriots, Chris Martin from California arrived. He’s a fellow veteran, and he is Muslim.


Something that I feel I I fought for. He says the store’s policy violates his rights. Unfortunately, it can catch on. I mean, it has caught on and others are doing it. You know?


I think that’s unfortunate, you know, because this is this is already a lot that’s been established for, what, 200 years. Martin was met with a listening ear from the patriots who say they have great respect for anyone who has served our country. We both served with every color, every creed imaginable. And Right. I I love all of my brothers.


I don’t care what color you are. If you ate the same dirt, I hate I love you, and I respect you for it. The patriots tell me they will continue to guard this business and this family until they believe the threat is over. Reporting from Oktaha, KC Robock 2 news works for you. Once again, Muslim terrorists, a terrorist A terrorist Islamic extremist extremist terrorists of country.


They’re random justice is brutal and deadly. Newsflash, America. These Muslim extremists are are alive and well. They are not dead, and their video is not gratuitous, and it is not irrelevant. It is a warning.


Welcome to the Truth About Muslims podcast. The official podcast of the Swimmer Center For Muslim Studies, where we help to educate you beyond the media. Here are your hosts, Howard and Trevor. Alright. Welcome to another episode of Truth About Muslims podcast.


We’re gonna talk this week about a video that has gone a little bit viral. You just heard it there in the intro and some of the things you can’t see. So I’m gonna have to describe them to you. Essentially, what happens is there is a local gun shop, in, I believe it’s Oklahoma, that declared itself a Muslim free zone. In other words, Muslims not welcome.


They put up a sign. The owner said they then received a death threat, And so people from the community gather, I mean, they’re wearing full on bulletproof vest, look like they’re ready for war. Many of them wore veterans. Are they wearing uniforms? No.


But you know how a lot of Velcro, I guess. A lot of Velcro. A lot of Velcro and I yeah. So and they have full on assault rifles and stuff. Wow.


And, they’re protecting the owners of the store according to them. Now, one part that’s not in that sound clip was one of the guys accidentally his weapon fell and he actually shot himself. Now the person who sent me this video, I said, man, I feel horrible because I did he’s okay. I made sure he was okay. But a part of me was kinda thought it was a little bit humorous that he accidentally shot himself in the arm.


But then I felt bad and I wrote the guy back and said I felt, you know, kind of a little bit humorous and then I felt guilty. And then he wrote me back and said, you’re a better man than I am still laughing. So one of the guys that came to guard the place shot himself. He accidentally shot himself. I mean Wow.


That’s crazy. That’s so ironic. It’s not even funny. Yeah. Well, so ironic.


It kinda is funny. He’s okay, but he accidentally shot himself. Right. The Velcro failed. Literally, the Velcro failed on the on the on the vest, and the gun fell out from his chest strap and shot himself.


I believe it was in the arm. So but he’s fine. What that that clip that you heard was actually, an interview with a local newscaster interviewing some of the guys that were guarding the store. And as they’re doing the interview, a Muslim pulls up with his wife in the hijab. A Muslim veteran.


Yeah. Well, I don’t think they put 2 and 2 together until they saw his hat, which was a veteran’s hat, and he introduces himself as a veteran. Now, what I find very interesting was everything changed at that moment. Yeah. Why why did everything change at that moment?


Why all of a sudden is this guy having hands extended to him, you know, they’re speaking about, you know, him in such a positive way. Yeah. They did. And even afterwards, there’s another interview with this guy where they actually invite him to come shooting and hope that he’ll join the club and these kinds of things. So Really?


Yeah. So what happened? I mean, he had skin on. You know, their I think their ideas of what Muslims look like, you know, whether they they admit it or not came from the media and probably their experiences. You know?


But it it’s it’s the same thing. Like, I remember watching American Sniper or reading the book. And I remember where they would you know, the soldiers would kind of live in this, separation, you know, this this mentality where there’s there’s Muslims on one end that are, like, their translators. And they love those guys and they’re great and they would fight for those guys and and care about those guys. But then on the other other hand, they would call the Muslims, the radicals savages.


Right? And so it was kind of like this really loose, characterization of, you know, this is what Muslims are like. And it kinda falls apart in places, you know, whenever they meet real Muslims. Yeah. So a very similar thing happened, long time ago.


We have, prison camps where we put Japanese Americans into prison camps because they’re the enemy. Right. Well, we also have another type of prison camp that I don’t know if a lot of folks are aware of and that was we had Nazi prison camps where we would take and put Nazi soldiers that had been captured in war. So we have Nazi prison camps, and the, accounts of those that were in Nazi prison camps in the United States were that they were treated very well. Yeah.


That’s what I heard from you. Almost better than they were treated as, being in the army in Germany. Mhmm. So this is phenomenal. This is a very interesting thing.


You have Japanese American citizens being treated worse than you have prisoners of war being treated. And the question, of course, is why is that? And, Howard, I think bottom line, it the people that are working at this prison camp, they can identify with these Nazis. They look like them. Right.


They have their own kids that that those kids remind them of. Right. Here’s these young, blonde haired, blue eyed, you know, young Nazi soldiers, and they were treated well. And the Japanese, even though they were citizens of our own country, were treated horribly. Right.


Because there’s less common ground. Yeah. You you look like the enemy. You kinda have that with the with the Muslim guy that was the veteran that walks up to that store that you were just talking about. When they they saw that he was a veteran, right, his service in the US military trumped his, his different religious beliefs even though that might be, like, you know, something that causes them a lot of anger or issues or whatnot, but it trumped it.


And, that commonality was probably and and, you know, of course, when he spoke, he didn’t have an accent. He just talked like a normal guy, but he happened to be Muslim. Right? And they’re like, wow. This puts a new face on what Muslims are like.


Even though even though I’m not so sure if they would treat, you know, Muslims that were not as common as they were, like, didn’t didn’t serve in the military with them and and didn’t have an accent. I’m not sure if they would treat them any different. Who knows? You know, that’s that’s totally different. But I think the common ground thing, I think you’re right.


I think there’s some common ground that’s you can’t get over. It’s it’s too big. So I I think it wasn’t just that this Muslim guy had skin on. It was that he had the right kind of skin on, meaning he had military veteran skin on. Yeah.


And that changed everything. Like you said, it trumped all of those other I would call them allegiances or identifications. Some people would call them identity. You know, I have a military identity or I have a Christian identity or political identity or religious identity. And we have all these identities and we’re all a little bit schizophrenic in that way.


We have multiple identities, maybe it’s that we don’t have multiple identities, we just have multiple allegiances or identifications. And we aren’t supposed to necessarily put people into these boxes based on where you see them interacting in one moment and say, well, he must have a a religious identity. He’s Muslim religious identity, so he should act like this. Right. That’s how we typically study religions and people, cultural anthropology.


A lot of times the old school models would start with sort of a core center, of worldview and then they would build their way outward that ultimately at the at the core is the worldview. And then the next thing is, you know, that affects your beliefs and then that affects your values and then that affects your behaviors. And so what we get to observe is people’s behaviors and then we can make assumptions about their values. Right, we go backwards. Yeah.


But here’s the weird thing. Aren’t behaviors extremely contextual? Like, let me give you an example. Are the behaviors of your youth group different when you’re in the room? What do you think?


Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Are your behaviors of your children different when you’re in the room? Yeah. That goes without that goes without saying.


Are are people’s behaviors, different relationally? You know, do they relate to some people differently than they relate to others? Yeah. Like, when I was in jiu jitsu, right, or I do Brazilian jiu jitsu and a lot of these guys guys are just, you know, like, real tough guys training to be fighters, you know, wanting to be on, like, ultimate fighter and those kind of things. And as soon as they find out that I’m a youth pastor or pastor of any kind, they all of a sudden just they change.


They they they a lot of them even apologize for cussing because they’re dropping, you know, like, cuss words, like, left and right in their sentences. You know, They’re making complete sentences out of cuss words, and I’m just like, you know, like, it’s not a problem. I’m not judging their their cussing. You know? That’s that’s where they’re at.


And I’m like, okay. And then whenever they, you know, find out that I’m a pastor, like, oh, sorry about that. And then we talk a little bit more, and then they’re like, yeah. I need to get back to church. I need to start going to church.


That’s immediately it’s probably because we live in the South. But, yeah, as far as the the difference in conversation, as soon as they hear I’m a pastor, you know, it’s it’s totally different. So a good example would be I was at a dinner, with a couple Muslim guys that I had had dinner with multiple times before. I knew virtually everyone in the room, I’d say fairly well. And I had never seen any one of these guys pray except on Friday at the mosque.


And then, all of a sudden, the imam walks in and one of the guys immediately is like, hey, guys, we’re about to pray. Right? And everybody’s like, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And the mom’s like, wow, you know, he was really impressed. I mean, it reminded me of a youth group, like, as the youth pastor walks in, like, oh, we’re just having her Bible study really.


They’re playing FIFA Right. 2015 or something. Yeah. Yeah. So everything changed and I thought, well, that was interesting.


They elevated. Well, of course, that’s the imam. Right? Right. Different group of guys, different house, different relationships.


Everybody’s different and and couple of the guys are overlap, but most of it is different. And one guy walks in and says, hey, I’m getting ready to pray. Who’s with me? And all of a sudden it’s like, oh, yeah, of course. I was thinking the same thing and everybody kind of gets up and everybody moves towards, you know, going for prayer.


And so everybody’s spirituality changed with this one guy in the room. Now, if I had only hung out with these guys one night and observed their behaviors, my assumption might have been, wow, really religious guys. I mean, right in the middle of the FIFA game, they just paused it for prayer, you know. But if I had hung out with them the next night, I would have noticed that they didn’t pause for prayer at all. Right.


And so you have to be really careful when you take this sort of fixed model of looking at people and saying, well, I’m gonna look at their behaviors and then I’m gonna make assumptions about their beliefs, values, and and their world view essentially. Yeah. Give them a sense of identity, who they are. Right. Hey, ladies.


I’m from, Truth About Muslims podcast. Have you heard of it? Yeah. Okay. So we want you to read an ad for us.


Can you do that? You’ll be famous, like, world famous. It’ll be amazing. C I u? C I u.


CIU. CIU. CIU. I’m Kevin Kekaizen. Kevin in the world.


Yeah. Oh, wow. That’s nice. You just look fans. Luke fans.


Luke. Alright. CIU educates people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ. You wanna read that again? Yep.


Feel like I’ll be so embarrassed to be honest. But there’s even, like, bigger senses of this, right, in, in terms of governments, people in their countries, and in in, different context. Right? Like, for instance, I I remember, whenever I’d see, people, like, at a base, baseball game. Right?


And the national anthem comes up. Right? Or or or Especially after 911. Right. Or or if you’re, like, let’s, appreciate the troops.


Like, I’ve seen troops come off airplanes and then people start to applaud. You know, like, in those moments, people become super patriot. Yep. You know, super patriotic. And then on on the other, you know, days of the week, you know, it’s it’s they don’t even think about it.


Mhmm. You know, so it is it is interesting in different context. And I and I think spaces and relationships. Tell me what you mean by spaces. Well, I mean, just context as in, geographic You walk into a church or Exactly.


The, war museums or Classic example would be, serving as a missionary, feeling very homesick. Oh, yeah. And all of a sudden, there is a band playing in the evening. It was the band, that played the Charlie Brown, you’re gonna have to work in some music there or something with the Charlie Brown thing. Yeah.


Yeah. But anyway, they they were a naval band. Right. And they were playing Charlie Brown’s? Yeah.


It’s a jazz band and they were playing and and I knew they were a naval band and all of a sudden, man, I was like the biggest jazz fan you’d ever seen in your life. I am excited, I’ve got tickets, I’m telling my wife, you know, we’re gonna go to this thing and I don’t like jazz. Right. But this was a naval band and I missed home and I am American. So I I went and, man, I felt like the the the buttons on my shirt were about to pop off.


I was so proud of being American at that moment because I felt alone and very insecure about who I was in this mission, you know, as a missionary. And so having something you you suddenly something that might be, you know, if that band were playing today, I wouldn’t go. Yeah. You’d just be like, I have other options. Right.


Yeah. But at that moment, it was like, wow. This is a moment for me to connect with a part of who I am. Yeah. You know what I mean?


But I grew up in a military family, so we stood for the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem before every, you know, movie. Right. So but the the point is before every movie. I’m surprised you just kinda took that. I did.


I I just stopped. I’m like, before every movie. Every everybody that’s ever seen a movie on a military base knows exactly what I’m talking about. Everybody else is thinking they play the base knows exactly what I’m talking about. Everybody else is thinking they play the national anthem before the movie.


Yes. They do. Actually You stand. For a fun fact, Thailand does that too. Are you serious?


Yeah. Every movie here in Thailand, you stand for the national anthem. So why why do we do that? Why do we stand for the national anthem? Why do we have kids pledge allegiance to the flag?


Why do we have them in 3rd grade go instilling identity in us? Right. It’s gaining a sense of nationalism in the Describing identity, you know, because it’s not naturally there until you start adding a lot of meaning. A lot of countries do that. They they have this idea of, you know, like, we need to instill value into our nation, our brand.


You know, of course, they wouldn’t call it a brand, but, you know, and then you you it comes it comes with these deep moving, you know, images now. You know, like, the the flag flying, you know, when, you know, these bombs were going off or people were shooting more. Even. Oh, yeah. Yeah.


I mean, I remember, Hitler watching old footage of these Nazi troops marching, And just to watch them march in lockstep was insane. Just to see that many and then how many people, all the Nazi flags. You know, like, if you were a Nazi at that time in Germany, I I can’t imagine you would not be proud. There’s an excellent film on that called The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. For those of you that like, good good movies that make you think about the life of a Nazi soldier that just how affected normal everyday people.


Right. So it’s like super identity. You know, and we and we talked about this a little bit with gangs, you know, with, the clothes they wear or the colors they wear or the signs they have. Just this deep sense of identity. So where are we going with this?


So you So I’m I’m thoroughly convinced that we are, too simplistic when we look at people and particularly when we look at them and try to ascribe them sort of a sense of religious identity as, as a being that that’s who they are. Mhmm. And we do that with a lot of things, don’t we? Yeah. We tend to really box people in and sort of categorize them and say this is who you are, this is your identity.


And then we’re not okay necessarily with people doing that to us. The minute somebody sort of boxes you in, let’s say, they say, well, he’s a professor at a Bible college in South Carolina. Well, if they had only been to a particular Bible college a little north of here where it’s a little bit different, they would make some assumptions about me that I probably wouldn’t agree with. They would make some assumptions about my theology. They’d make some assumptions about Yeah.


Theology. Christians have that a lot. They’ll they’ll say, like, oh, you know, I I’m Catholic, but I’m Presbyterian, but I’m Baptist, but I’m Calvinist, but Right. Because they don’t want to be pigeonholed. Right.


And it and it’s not necessarily that it’s even bad. They just don’t wanna be pigeonholed. It’s so interesting. And we wanna be the one who defines the terms. Yeah.


Because what you mean in your head when I say Catholic may not be what I mean. And what you mean in your head when I say Christian may not be what I mean. A good example would be when we first moved into our neighborhood and my neighbor referred to me as her Christian neighbor and I I had heard her speak so negatively about Christians, I thought, well, wait a second. She’s just sort of giving me that term that she’s already filled with so much negative meaning. I don’t know that I want to be fit into that box.


So I kind of said, why do you call me that? I’ve heard what you said about Christians. Is that really what you think about me? No. You’re different.


Right? Do you know what I mean? Yeah. But what’s really interesting is that you’re reshaping her, view on Christians. Trying to.


Hoping. Well and think about the the Muslim soldier reshaping you know, like, even if it’s even in in a little bit. You know? Like, at my church, we deal with racism and, you know, like, you know, if if you know anything about me, I’m I’m trying to be, like, like, super authentic. Because, you know, a lot of my life and my story has been about faking it.


You know, just, you know, like, a lot of Asian cultures, you just try to look like everything is great. And I still struggle with that. My guys group, we talk about it and stuff like that. But in this area, we try to be authentic and I try to lead my youth group in that way. So we talk about things like racism.


You know. But the fact is, like, a lot of us have, you know, like, let’s say a black friend. Right? And then we make judgments in our mind about blacks, you know, other blacks. And then when we think about that that, black friend, we don’t think of him in the same category.


We’re like, oh, that guy’s different. So he’s an anomaly. So he doesn’t really belong to the blacks that would you know, the general black population that we know of or so, you know, carry around in our mind. And, that’s that’s really scary because then our minds kind of make these little, little leaps. So it it we don’t really change.


Right? We just have these people that are anomalies in our lives. So we have a Muslim guy who’s a veteran. Right? Talks like an American, you know, all that stuff.


But we it doesn’t affect our view on Muslims. It’s crazy. And so I’ve been really challenging our youth and challenging even myself in in these, these kind of ways we think. But this I think that you’re I think you’re right. I think it really brings this to light.


Just the fact that our identities are so much more complex. Yeah. I think we used to think, identity is really that you’re the same person no matter what. You know, same person in each context, same person in each relationship, same. And I think now we’ve kind of determined that that’s really a little bit more psychotic than normal.


That if you have no sort of shift in who you are and kinda how you relate to people no matter where you are, that’s not a good thing necessarily. That could be very Yeah. Broken part of your You you’d explained it before, and And you said you said something about, they’re psychologically disturbed. Yeah. Like, what what does that look like?


Because you had mentioned somebody, like, if if in every situation, no matter what, they were exactly the same. Just imagine, you may have encountered someone like that. I mean, they make films. They’ve made films about people like that, but but typically they’re psychotic. Like, there’s no nuance.


There’s no they they’re the same person when they’re with their wife as they are with their children as they are with a stranger. I’m not the same person with a stranger as I am with my wife. My wife knows me in ways that no stranger will ever know me. That’s a good thing. Well, just your gentleness towards your mother maybe, you know, like, that would be very different than your boss.


Yeah. I mean, if I try to if I try to cradle Howard the way that I would one of my children, he’d probably feel uncomfortable. Right. I I would I’d feel a little bit uncomfortable. So the the the point of that what I’m getting at is that, I like to think of it in the form of narrative.


You know how much I like narrative and I think we tend to look at Islam only through a sense of sort of a literary perspective. Like, hey, just tell me what the Quran says. Right. Academically. Right.


Right. And and Islam 101 is kinda like that. It’s got some of that. That danger. Right?


You could jump into that, but go keep going. But Kenneth Craig said something in one of his early books that he wrote, that when you want to enter Islam, it’s better to enter into the mosque than to enter into the Quran. And I really like that perspective because you can enter into the Quran or reach for the dictionary. You know, he’s saying don’t reach for the the the dictionary. Go to the mosque, meet a Muslim.


That’s where you’re really going to begin to understand Islam and begin to understand even the Quran as you meet Muslims and see what they think. And we’ve been harping on that for several shows. But the whole point is, when you isolate a Muslim from all of the other competing and maybe even complimentary narratives in their life, you miss something. So for instance, let’s talk you you we mentioned earlier something about Nazism. There’s this one I love, narrative photos and narrative paintings, like Norman Rockwell.


But there’s a photo where everybody seems to be standing and saluting the Fuhrer. Right? Adolf Hitler. And everybody’s got their hand outstretched. Right.


Right. Right. And there’s this one dude that’s sitting there with his arms crossed, just kinda with this face, like, meh. Yeah. Not interested.


Yeah. I don’t know. I’m not sold. You know, and it’s this moment where you realize that there is a powerful public narrative going on that is drawing everybody in and everybody’s on board except for this one dude. It’s so obvious that he’s not in because he’s the only one that’s not doing the salute.


Right. And so And there’s thousands of people in this picture and it’s clear. I’ve seen this picture. Thousands. We’ll put a link in the podcast notes, to this picture so you guys can get a look at it.


But the point is is that you have multiple narratives going on and so Nazism was a public narrative, even a cultural narrative that was going on in a particular time, in a particular place, and then it became a global narrative. It went outside of where it originally started. Mhmm. And so when I think of the multitude of different narratives, you have a family narrative. Howard, you have a family history.


You have, experiences with your own parents and even grandparents. Right. Aunts, uncles You can go into that one day. It’s an interesting family tree. We both have very interesting family trees.


It’s amazing that we’re alive. So then you also have, cultural narratives. We each have cultural narratives that some of them are more, confined into our own families and then some of them are broadened out to a culture like Howard’s a Korean American. Right. There’s a cultural narrative there.


We’re both Americans. There’s a cultural narrative there. We both live in the South now. Cultural narrative. Right.


And so the available narratives are only so many. Now when you step out of a narrative that’s available, that’s culturally accepted, it’s taboo. And so there are some narratives within the Muslim world that are sort of global. They transcend all of the different places in Islam, like, one conversion from Christianity, not acceptable. I’ve not yet found any particular context, time, or space where conversion outside of Islam would be an acceptable norm.


But that’s quickly changing because, eventually, they’re gonna have to deal with so many people leaving Islam. Right. You see what I mean? And it takes time. Another example of a a cultural narrative that many of us could identify with right now is 20 years ago, saying that you were a homosexual would have been taboo.


Oh, right. Nowadays, for some it’s still very taboo. For some it’s celebrated and so and then there’s everybody in between. And so you have this change. Narratives aren’t fixed.


They’re changing. They’re always changing and you have to look at that person in the midst of the current narratives and also the cultural narratives, the particular person, really overly simplistic in your explanation of who that person is. It’s gonna steer you wrong. Alright. So this show wouldn’t be possible without sponsors.


And at this point in the show is where if you wanna partner with us, we would put your ad. So if you wanna be a part of the show, you like partnering with us, you like what we’re doing, you wanna be on our team, what have you, bringing this show to the world, then email us and let us know. So, another good example, I’ve mentioned Norman Rockwell, the painting of Ruby Bridges. She’s walking down the street, the US Marshals are escorting her, the n word is written on the wall, there’s fruit being thrown. It’s a powerful narrative.


Right? You know what’s happening at that moment. And if you were to try to understand, black Christian theology at that moment to ignore the public and cultural narratives that are happening, you would miss something. Does that make sense? Yeah.


You’d miss a lot. Yeah. And and so when we look at Islam, we have to look at the current, narratives that are going on globally, individually, within their own family, culturally. Does does that make sense? Yeah.


And but that means that we would have to be real listeners. We’d have to we’d have to know people and talk to them and find out their stories, which is, you know, what we kinda harp on. But, I mean, even just thinking because we were, before we started this podcast, we were looking at this video about, Afghani women and how times have changed so much where, you know, they were getting so much, influence and power in in the country as far as how many they there’s, like, a a good you know, like, 40% of doctors in Kabul were women, 50% of teachers and students were women, so on and so forth. Women could vote 6 years before Switzerland. And you kinda see, you know, like, how much that has all shifted.


But, you know, there’s a lot. And Trevor and I were discussing it. There’s a lot to that. You know, of course, communism, the battle with, with Russia, of course, and then, you know, the the mujahideen. Right?


And, and then the reverting back to fundamentalist Islam. Having the Taliban take over Kabul, start beheading people in the soccer courts. Most of the more progressive Muslims fleeing to to Pakistan, going to cities like Peshawar. Right. But the thing is, is depending on when those statistics took place, things are changing so quickly because one of the best bands that I like right now is actually a band out of Kabul, a band called Cobble Dreams.


And these guys, this is a classic example. Right? You would think that Cobble is, you could pretty pretty much narrow it down. What is Cobble like? Except you have these guys.


One of them is from Uzbekistan, who was growing up in Kabul when the Taliban came, and there was a a coup. He fled back to Uzbekistan. His friend, is Iranian, and so he speaks Dari and he fled Kabul and went to Iran. Imagine how bad it is when you’re fleeing Kabul to Iran. Oh my god.


And then the other guy is Pash and so he flees Kabul into, Pakistan. Well, now they’ve all come back. Right? Because of the US invasion and the toppling of the Taliban, Kabul has more open. And so these guys have come back, they formed their band and they represent, like this multiple sort of ethnicities in places where you think it’s really similar.


It’s very simple. It’s cobble, so they’re all like this, except for these 3 guys break that mold. And I think that mold is probably, needs to be broken. It’s too simple. So these guys come back and now they’re playing at South by Southwest, one of the largest music festivals in the United States.


They’re playing their music singing in Uzbek, singing in Dari, singing in Polish, singing in English, they’re a punk rock band. No way. Yeah. And so they play their music, and I think what they do is they shatter all the paradigms that we oversimplify because we could just say that Cobble is really a place where, you know, this this and this happens. Well, but it’s also a place where there’s some really cool movements happening.


And so, granted, I don’t know what the current statistics are in Kabul. I’m just saying that it’s, we tend to pigeonhole things and make them really too simple. Right. And then we kinda miss out. Yeah.


Yeah. So when we think about this, how it fits with the Islam 101, that’s how we are going to look at Islam. We’re going to take into consideration the, gender, for instance. Muslim woman is going to have a different experience than a Muslim man, more than likely. Right.


We’ll take into consideration the socioeconomics, status of a group or a people or individual. We’ll look at the age. We’ll look at the cultural setting, we’ll look at the political situation. I mean, it would be foolish to not consider the political situation going on in many of these Muslim countries when you’re talking about Islam. You have to consider the political sort of climate.


Right. And then, in all of that, you have to consider that Islam does have this concept of the Ummah, the community, the global community. And what’s happening? What is the public narrative with the global community right now in the Muslim world? Right.


So as we’re listening, like, to these, you know, podcast Islam 101, so what basically, what you’re saying is you we’re going to stretch, everyone’s views on Muslims, to the max as, ultimately, as much as we’re able. You know what what kinda comes to me is that you remember when we were talking to, missionary Brady? We’re talking about Sudan. Mhmm. Even the the black Muslims, you know, have a different experience than, you know, Muslims or, Middle Eastern Muslims.


And then you got Indonesian Muslims, you know, that are having a totally different experience. Yeah. So yeah. It’s so hard just to say that, Muslims are this or Muslims are that and, you know, of course, that’s what we do in the politics. Right.


The the analogy that I’m trying to I’m trying to come up with an analogy that helps it make sense and what I’ve got so far. You tell me if it works. Alright. I’ve got an apple barrel with apples. A barrel of apples?


You picturing a barrel of apples? Right. It is apple season. Well, I’ve never I’ve never seen we’re going to. I’ve never seen an apple barrel.


Yeah. You know how they give you the little barrel thing and you fill it with apples? It’s like a little that’s a basket. That’s a basket. But imagine a big barrel.


Yeah. Yeah. Almost like a a wood barrel. Yeah. Like something they would make wine in or something like a big wooden barrel.


Right. Filled with apples. I’ll draw a picture for you. Yeah. Imagine a big barrel of apple.


So you have the individual apple. It’s important to know the individual apple, his story. I would even say the laugh at the Sorry. Go ahead. It’s important to know the individual apple.


Right. It’s important to even know. Did you know that you can’t actually take the seed from an apple and grow that apple? What? If you took the seed out of a what’s your favorite apple?


I like the of Gold’s, personally. No. No. No. No.


No. The Mutsu, man. The Mutsu are the best apples. Isn’t that the really hard, like No. That’s Arkansas black.


Okay. Mutsu. It hurt my teeth. It’s it’s it’s sour and sweet. Okay.


But if you Hard. The next time you have a Mutsu Mm-mm. You take the seed out and you plant it, I’m willing to bet you you’re not gonna grow any Matsu apples. What are you talking about? It’s an No.


I’m telling you this blows Johnny Appleseed out of the water. Like, this is the the urban legend. Right? Okay. Go ahead.


It’s true. What apple grows from a mussel seed? Nobody knows. It’s going to grow some strain that you’ve probably never tasted or not. And more more than likely, it will be inedible.


It will taste horrible. No. I’m telling you. Why? I don’t know.


It’s just the way it is. And I think what it comes down to is that the DNA and the sort of the all of the code of the apple is carried into the seed and it can pull. It changes just like humans. Yeah. Like their redhead gene, you know.


Yeah. You’re not gonna be you’re not gonna your children aren’t gonna look the same every time. They’re gonna look different. Same same thing happens with apples. And so do you know how they have a whole orchard of Mutsu?


Yeah. That was my second question. Yeah. They they actually graft in the Mutsu branch to a set of roots. Wait.


Wait. Time out. So you’re telling me there’s some mystical Matsu tree with all the branches mess missing? Every time they grow, they just chop one off and then graft it onto another orchard? Any any Matsu tree.


Go get a Matsu tree right now and graft a branch of that one onto a new one. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense.


But originally, yes. There was a mystical Mutsu tree. There was originally 1 and I you know. The one. So in that sense, it has you have to graft in.


You can’t just plant the seed. So this is why my analogy, I think, is is gonna work. It’s the complexity. You got me compelled. You you keep going.


The complexity is you have to know the roots and then you have to also know what’s been grafted in. What’s been grafted into that individual’s life. Now it could even That’s good. Okay. So okay.


It goes a little further. Okay. Not just the individual apple but also the apple surrounding it because now it’s sitting in a context with relationships. These apples are talking to each other. They grew up together.


Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. So the Mutsu branch that’s producing 1 apple or 2 apples or 3 apples?


This is an apple of this is a barrel of multiple apples. So they’re gonna be hanging out this Mutsu branch on a tree is gonna be hanging out with other apples from this tree. You lost the barrel. The the the apple’s been picked. It’s sitting in a barrel.


Okay. It came from a tree though Yeah. That has roots and different apples. That have been grafted in. And now it’s sitting in a barrel with different apples.


And it has a context and it has relationships and those relationships matter. So you have to know the individual apple. You have to know where the apple came from. You have to know the apples that it’s sitting around and then you you have to know the barrel makers. What?


Because it’s sitting in a barrel. And there are barrel makers in the world. What’s a barrel maker? The US is a barrel maker. So so political nations Russia.


Is a barrel maker. China is a barrel maker. Iran is now a barrel maker. I’m not talking about oil. I’m talking about I’m talking about there are there are Like powers.


There are powers in the world, imperialistic powers, you know. So it might not be necessarily your poll political nation state that you live in. It’s, other gigantic political nation states that have a lot of power and influence on the rest of the world. Like globalization It could be a nation state, technology. These are things that are global.


It could be ideas. It could be religions. Islam is a barrel maker. And so you have all of these barrel makers happening in the world. You have individual apples, you have other apples, and then you have the trees that they’ve all come from.


And I think the the service that we do to individual Muslims is we tend to look at either the barrel and assume something about the apple. We tend to look at the surrounding apples and assume something about the apple, or we look at the tree that it came from and assume something about the apple. And some of these assumptions might be right, but I fear that many of them are wrong and that we should be, a little bit more humble in how we approach people. Because I think they’re created in the image of God, and that there is something intrinsically, human about all of us and that’s what we should be searching for. And I think we don’t do that oftentimes when we start saying words like they.


Mhmm. Did I did I lose you on the apple? No. You didn’t. That was really good.


I think that, as, you know, a deeper revelation in my head is that, these assumptions that keep us from making relationships. Yeah. I don’t wanna make relationships with people I’m scared of. But even then, like, if I assume something about you and we’re friends, we never talk about that thing. I I because I don’t need to find anything else about it.


I I just assume that that’s who you are. But then when I do find out something different, I’m like, wow. I thought I knew you, but there’s something else, you know, deeper. Oh, this changes my perspective of you in a, you know, a better way, like, in a deeper way. Right.


But, yeah. A lot of these assumptions, I think, can sometimes shut down communication. And you know what happens when we assume. Wow. Alright.


Well, with that, I hope you guys are enjoying the Islam 101. We wanna keep doing more and more. This is going to be a little little kind of a short, almost like a foundation for for some of these other ones that are gonna be coming up. Kind of why we talk about what we do is because we do want you guys to have these conversations with with Muslims to get in deeper, to to not just assume the things about them, because I think people are a lot more complex than that. And, and I think it does honor to the Lord whenever we we treat other people as human beings, you know, because I think, what I love about Jesus whenever you see him in, in the gospels is that, he really touches people, you know, according to their need.


And he looks at them, and he talks to them. And, you know, the thing that stands out to me is when Jesus is coming down from the mount of, you know, when he did the Sermon on the Mount, there’s a leper who comes in the midst of them. Of course, he’s unclean. He’s supposed to be shouting unclean, but he comes in the midst. And I know that the people that are following him are all gasping.


Right? He falls to his knees in front of Jesus and he says, you know, if you’re willing, I know you can heal me. And Jesus, you know, says this amazing thing. He says, I am, and he touches the guy. He doesn’t have to touch the guy.


You know? That’s not one of those things that’s required. He’s he’s healed people from afar. You know? People have touched his clothes and healed.


He’s, you know, he he you know, he’s he’s commanded people to be healed without touching him. But he touches this guy, this leper, this unclean skin disease. Everyone is gasping and he makes the guy clean. It’s crazy. And so when I think about, you know, us interacting with with Muslims, it’s it’s like us engaging, and we don’t have to touch the people.


We don’t have to get involved. You know? Like, we could we could just kind of be aloof, but, you know, I don’t think that’s what Christ, you know, calls us to be or to do. And so we get engaged in people’s lives and meet and touch and talk. And and I think that’s, you know, kinda what we wanna do, you know, as as, for the Zwemer Center and for truth about Muslims, we wanna have people engage in real life people, not just to sit there academically and sit in their ivory towers and such.


So but yeah. So this is maybe like a a little foretaste of what we’re gonna be doing in the future. As we talk about more details, it’s always on this backdrop of relationship. We want people to have relationship with Muslims. And I think in the next show, we have to probably talk about the barrel making that’s happening when Islam comes into being.


Mhmm. It’s important to understand what’s going on in the Byzantine Empire, what’s going on in the Persian Empire Right. When Islam comes on the scene. In the same way that it’s important to understand what’s happening with the Greek world and the Roman world when Christianity comes on the scene. You miss huge Yeah.


Parts of scripture if you don’t understand what’s going on politically, even sociologically, like, things that Jesus will say will go right over your head. But if you understand that broader context, man, the scriptures come alive and it’s amazing. And it and it it it gives you, I think compassion for people. Yeah. You know, because then all of a sudden their behavior doesn’t seem just so erratic.


You know? You really have compassion. So, anyway, thank you guys so much for listening. As always, we want to thank, everyone that just listens, that you guys, you know, continue to download. We want a broader audience.


Not, you know, for our sake, we don’t really gain much. I mean, maybe, in the heavens. You know? Like, we’re still working on sponsors. It’s been, like, a year now.


No sponsors. Yeah. We do. But we’re excited because this has been an entire year. We’ve never skipped a week.


That’s huge. You know? Because I when Trevor first told me the idea, I was like, I don’t know if we can keep this up. But it’s actually been really awesome and fun. And and so thank you guys so much for listening.


Keep writing reviews on iTunes. We got so many already, and it’s so cool because it just continues to push us up and make us, more, visible, to others that are searching for stuff like this. So, I think We are trying to change the public narrative here in America, and you guys are a part of that. Right. And and go to zwemercenter.com and read those articles.


Post those articles on your Facebook, on your social media, on your Twitter. It gets word out there. People listen to our podcast that way too. And, of course, get, you know, the people to subscribe. There was this one guy who was telling us about his grandmother.


Trevor, tell us that story really quick. Which one was it? Well, he, his grandmother, you know, was, like, anti Oh, yes. Amplified. Very much the Muslims are Yeah.


Coming. Terrible. They’re coming, and we have to, you know, protect ourselves and stop the Muslims. And she started listening to the podcast and the guy said, now his grandma’s, like, you know, chomping at the bit to go to the mosque and share the love of Jesus with people. He’s so smart.


To hang out with Muslims and and be Christ to them. And I was like, woah. Woah there, grandma. Yeah. That’s such a that’s like such a cool story.


So if you were the grandma listening, we are so encouraged by your story. Right. We love you and we’re we’re so we’re so happy. And, yeah. So with that, you know, just keep writing, you know, reviews and and, spreading it out, sending it to other people.


And even if they don’t like us, it’s okay. Yeah. It’s okay. That’s not that’s not our It hurts just a little bit, but it’s okay. I say we end it with a little bit from Cobble Dreams.


Yeah. We’ll play that and then, yeah. So we’ll see you next week.