Saturday, April 28, 2007

Modern Muslima on Christian Missionaries

Modern Muslima is a a magazine for Modern Muslim women (Muslima is the Arabic word for a female Muslim). I enjoyed reading this article because it shows how Muslims, in particular here, how Muslim women, are taught to respond to Christian missionaries.

The article starts off with some interesting information about the acculturation chart. It is explained fairly well and the folks at Modern Muslima seem particularly alarmed about C5 missionaries, and perhaps C4 missionaries as well.

Last night I hung out with three friends of mine and we played Risk (I won, alhamdulillah, with a last minute sweep through Asia) and we discussed these questions. Not one of us thought that C5 was appropriate or healthy, or, as this article mentions, honest. So there we are in agreement.

I will take issue with one of the topics raised: Muslims are told that when engaged with questions about the Quran or Islam to send the person to a local imam. I am sorry but that just seems like intellectual and spiritual laziness to me. If Muslims really believe that the Quran is word-for-word from God, then they should be able to answer basic questions about the book and the religion. I believe that this approach is in fact one of the most negative aspects of Islam: Muslims are neither encouraged to scrutinize their religion nor to ask difficult questions.

Second note: in different sections of the article, it is stated that most Muslim states prohibit evangelism, and then that missionaries often refer to the "sorry" state of Muslim women throughout Islamdom. Is there any attempt to link the two concepts by Modern Muslima? Nope. In fact the two things are inextricably related: evangelism is prohibited because Islam teaches that religious freedom is blasphemous; Islam teaches that women must be treated as a form of property for men. Denying religious freedom (evangelism and conversion) and denying women freedom (education, civil liberties, work) flow from the same intolerant civilization.

One wonders if the Muslim women at Modern Muslima have ever considered what would happen to their publication if secular government built on a Judeo-Christian heritage were to cede to an Islamic government. A better solution than sending your kids to an Islamic school or not allowing them to go to sleep-overs might be to actually start asking some hard questions about Islam, rather than just assuming that the religious men (and all imams are men) will figure it out. Sloth is a capital sin. The one who overcomes slothfulness will ask hard questions; the one who asks hard questions is one who searches; one who searches will find.

Here is the link: Secret War

4 comments:

SocietyVs said...

I would say in Canada the Muslim women have it pretty good and two that I know have begun to challenge the system right back - most notably - Irshad Manji (whom I am taking a liking to for her call of change to this faith system). Again the context I am discussing is Canada and is vastly different (on a violent level) than Turkey and most of the Middle East. I think Muslims need to be all for questioning their faith - it actually helps build someone's foundation.

Sharon M said...

I agree with your comment, societyvs, when you state "I think Muslims need to be all for questioning their faith - it actually helps build someone's foundation." However, my observation from living in the ME has been the exact opposite. This idea of questioning your faith to strengthen your belief is an incredibly Western concept and seems to be an exception rather than a rule over here, especially where Muslim women are concerned. They are taught to always defer to the man (father, husband, imam etc), so it's no surprise to me that most of them have not looked deeper into religious questions -- and those that have, in general, don't like the answers they find.

Also want to make a comment on Irshad Manji (who seems to be the West's "poster girl" for Muslim feminism). No one buys into her propaganda over here; most women that I've talked to don't even consider her to be a true Muslim. So don't put your faith in her, because she is not the voice that is going to change Islam in the Islamic countries.

Anonymous said...

This is an old post and I apologize but I found it on some random search. I'm not Christian or Muslim but I think you are being ridiculous.

I have been fed more crap by Christians who have no training in the ministry whatsoever, no background in Hebrew or Latin or Greek or Aramaic and yet they think they are the be-all, end-all experts on the Bible--and yet they continually lead people astray. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps these Muslims who refer you to their imam wish to avoid making the same mistake? Unlike you, they take their faith seriously (as in, you do not take their faith seriously). The well-being of their souls in the afterlife hangs in the balance if they lead anyone else astray. Don't you think that counts for something, or are you a just-pretend Christian? Wouldn't you take it pretty seriously if you realized you gave someone bad information about your faith? If not, why bother following your particular religion?

As for religious tolerance, don't make me laugh; I've spent most of my adult life as a Neopagan and if you think you're tolerant I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. In Christianity, Jesus told his followers to preach the gospel and he told them that "no man cometh unto the Father but by me." In Judaism there are stories of the ancient Hebrews slaughtering Pagan peoples living in their "promised land" for worshiping the wrong deities. (Great shades of what's happening today.) In the Qur'an the early Muslims responded in kind when attacked, but there are verses to the effect that no one can make anyone else believe anything, and "to you your religion and to me my religion." (Yes, there are also passages about killing Pagans, but those refer to Pagan Arabs who were attacking the early Muslims.)

All I have to do is look at the Iberian Peninsula under the Moors versus Spain under the Catholics to know where I would rather be living as long as the religious government in question is actually following the dictates of said religion rather than making it up as they go along.

The Moors didn't burn people at the stake, you know.

And this whole notion that Muslims should change their faith to suit Christians is just appallingly arrogant. Do you want them telling you how to believe? No, you take offense that they don't like you sending missionaries among them, even if you agree that certain types of missions do more harm than good. You wouldn't want them telling you to give up seeing Jesus as part of the Trinity. Do them similar courtesy. At least they haven't abandoned half the tenets of their faith just so they can feel hip and modern. You know Paul tells Christian women to cover their heads and submit to their husbands, right? Twist his words all you like, but unless someone mistranslated the original texts, as the commercial says, "It's in there!" And as an ex-Christian I'm well aware of the idea that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you'll be saved, but Paul also said that faith without works is dead, Jesus repeatedly admonished his followers to behave in certain ways, and I am not going to take someone at their word that they follow X religion if they don't act like it. So... if you're just like secular unbelieving Westerners who do whatever they want with no thought to consequence, why should I believe you're Christian? So you might want to reconsider all those "old-fashioned" admonitions that "don't fit modern times" anymore. You might learn something.

I.J. Abdul Hakeem said...

----Muslims are told that when engaged with questions about the Quran or Islam to send the person to a local imam. I am sorry but that just seems like intellectual and spiritual laziness to me. ----

I couldn't agree more. While some issues should be reffered to an Imam, there are some basic things which Most muslims are unfortunately unaware of.

----I believe that this approach is in fact one of the most negative aspects of Islam: Muslims are neither encouraged to scrutinize their religion nor to ask difficult questions.---

I don't think Islam has encouraged people to remain ignorant.

The famous scholar, Shiekh Abdullah Al Faqih mentions on his website:

----1) Fard 'Ayn (individual obligation). It is every Muslim's duty to acquire such knowledge. One who neglects such knowledge is sinful. This kind includes: learning the sound essentials of Islamic creed and pillars of Islam such as prayer, Zakaah, fasting and Hajj.

2) Fard Kifaayah (collective duty). It means that if some people have acquired such knowledge, the others will be exempt of responsibility. This kind includes: worldly sciences such as medicine, accounting and other sciences that the Muslim society needs.----

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=154803

Thanks for the heads up! :)