Friday, January 28, 2011

On the unrest in countries like Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan

by Abu Daoud

Well, what can I say?

I have been surprised by the outbreak in massive riots in Egypt, and lessed such events in Yemen and Jordan. What really seemed like the moment when 'the levee's gonna break' was when folks in Egypt started calling for the resignation of Mubaarak.

You see, you can have riots, even violent, destructive ones, in the Middle East, for certain causes, like Islamic stuff (of course), and anti-American and anti-Israel stuff (of course), and even maybe for rather pragmatic things like the price of bread or sugar of tomatos. You can even call for new elections or a new parliament or a new group of ministers (the new boss...same as the old boss), a la Jordan. But you can't call for the top guy to be replaced, or to leave, or to step down, or anything. In fact, you should not even mention him, unless you are saying, hey this guy needs to save us from these corrupt jerks. Then it's ok.

Well, that's not what is happening in Egypt. The police are out of play, widely despised by people in general. Now the military has been called in, and what of that? Even if one or two main commanders tell their troops, you know, we're here to defend Egypt from Israel and Libya and fill-in-the-blank, so we're just not going to get invovled in this, either way....well, that will end up being decisive. If a couple of influential commanders do that, then a new regime in Egypt is not impossible.

But if the military by and large obey their orders (which seem illegitimate to me, but then again I'm American), then sooner or later, perhaps after much bloodshed, the iron will of the Mubaarak Dynasty will be enforced upon all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Rev Ghulam Masih Naaman, ex-Muslim, Kashmiri, Anglican priest

Born in 1923 in Kashmir, he became a soldier, then a Christian, and then in 1960 an Anglican priest.

His story can be found here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Rev Sultan Muhammad Paul, Afghan, Anglican Priest, convert from Islam

Sultan was born in Kabul in 1881, moved to India to study Islam, and became involved in polemics against other religions. During his hajj to Mecca he started to reflect on eternal salvation and wether or not Islam could actually provide it. He reflected on the hadiiths where Muhammad says that he cannot save anyone at all, even through his intercession. Then he found the verse in Matthew where Jesus issues the great invitation: 'Come to me all you heavy-laden, and I will give you rest....' He accepted.

In 1903 he requested baptism, and eventually received the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Anglican Church.

More can be read about him in Called from Islam to Christ by Fr. Jean-Marie Gaudeul. Or, if you are particularly resourceful in terms of finding books: Why I Became a Christian which he himself wrote (Gospel Literature Service, Bombay: 1978).

His entire testimony can be read HERE.

Thursday, January 20, 2011



What was the name of the Anglican priest who was born in Afghanistan and was an ex-Muslim?

Will post the answer after a few people take guesses, or at least say, I don't know but I'd like to know.

Oscar Wilde's poem, 'On the Massacre of Christians in Bulgaria'

HT to Jewel.

On the Massacre of Christians in Bulgaria
by Oscar Wilde

Christ, dost Thou live indeed? or are Thy bones
Still straitened in their rock-hewn sepulchre?
And was Thy rising only dreamed by Her
Whose love of Thee for all her sin atones?
For here the air is horrid with men's groans,
The priests who call upon Thy name are slain,
Dost Thou not hear the bitter wail of pain
From those whose children lie upon the stones?
Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom
Curtains the land, and through the starless night
Over Thy Cross, a crescent moon I see!
If Thou in very truth didst burst the tomb
Come down, O Son of Man! and show Thy might,
Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mark Bradley on Christianity in Iran

Bradley is one of the few people who has written on the current awakening happening in Iran. It is hard to get information related to it, and harder still to explain why it is happening in Iran, rather than in, say, Jordan or Syria, countries with great religious freedom (relatively speaking). Bradley proposes that the Shia-Sufi DNA of Iranian Islam is a key factor:

“The Shia faith instills the importance of a just Imam, who is willing to die for his people, yet still present to guide, and certainly determined to return to return in victory; and the philosophy of Sufism invites everyone to move beyond rigid religion, and embark on a journey where they deny themselves to experience the light. As disillusionment with the Islamic revolution has spread, so the appeal of a religion which shares so much with Shiism and Sufism has increased—especially when shed of its Western externals. Rather than being the enemy of Christianity in Iran, the dual religious identity of Iran might prove to be its best friend.” p. 22

Bradley, Mark. 2008. Iran and Christianity: historical identity and present relevance. London: Continuum.

If you are interested in the topic and want to read his ideas, that book I just quoted from is the more rigorous and detailed one, but it's hard to find and expensive. Rather, order his earlier and more basic (but much cheaper) Iran: Open Hearts in a Closed Country.