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USATODAY – dateline, Aurora, Colorado:
“…Mcdad Soleyman sits in his living room, quietly cataloging a week of fear and tension. There was gunfire Saturday night outside his house…His wife is afraid to go out on errands or take her daily walk in a public park. Her cousin, wearing a head scarf, was accosted in the supermarket check-out line last week by an angry man who asked: “are you a Muslim? You all are going to burn in hell.”
Like every other American, Soleyman says he was horrified by the terrorist attacks last week in New York and Washington…”No religion would tolerate that.”
But as a devout Muslim and an Arab-American of Palestinian birth, he knew on Sept. 11 that his family’s life of relative calm was over for not, if not forever.
…Last weekend, the taunting and slurs, vandalism, shootings, fire bombings and other strikes at mosques, businesses and individuals turned deadly.
Mistaken for an Arab or Muslim with his turban and beard, Sikh gas station operator Balbir Sing, 49, from India was shot dead Saturday in …Phoenix. That night, Pakistani Muslim grocer Wager Hasan, 46, was show to death in Dallas. The same day, Egyptian-born grocer Adel Karas, 48, A Christian, was killed at his San Gabriel, Calif. market after an argument.
The FBI is examining all three as likely hate crimes, They are among at least 40 cases under investigation since the catastrophe. [end quote]
We’ve learned a new vocabulary in recent days: Islam, Allah, jihad, Taliban, Mohammad. For most Americans those were all distant, irrelevant words, but now they seem somehow important to all of us.
We battle with issues of tolerance in a pluralistic society - all the while believing what the Bibles stays about sin, separation from God and the fact that when we stand before God the first question we will be accountable for will be, “What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ?”
How would Jesus speak to a Muslim? What would Jesus say about the religion of Islam?
The Islamic religion was founded about 600 years after the birth of Jesus Christ by Muhammad. What we know from history is that Muhammad established the first Muslim community in a town called Medina in what is now Saudi Arabia.
Both terms: Islam and Muslim imply “submission” – one who is wholly surrendered to the will of Allah (their word for God). As with most of this world’s religions Islam consists in belief and practice.
The basics of Islam say:
(1) Allah is unique, all powerful and all merciful to all Muslims (those who surrender to His will)
a. There is but one Allah -
(2) There are good angels and evil spirits
(3) There are many sacred or “Revealed Books” but the four greatest are the Law of Moses , the Psalms, the Gospel of Jesus and the Quran of Muhammad.
(4) There were many prophets – including Moses and Jesus, but Muhammad was the last.
(5) Islam teaches both a resurrection and what we would refer to as hell
The basic Muslim practices are
(1) The “witness” “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”
(2) Ritual prayers (six times a day)
(3) The paying of alms (offerings)
(4) The fast of Ramadan
(5) At least one pilgrimage to Mecca in one’s lifetime.
(6) And Jihad – (individual efforts to serve Allah or engage in war against the enemies of Islam)
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today (there’s
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