Summary: After September 11, interest in Islam soared, and everyone, it seemed, looked for ways to appease it or put a smiley face on it.
This article is from BreakPoint WorldView magazine: http://www.breakpoint.org/contentindex.asp?ID=146.
After September 11, interest in Islam soared, and everyone, it seemed, looked for ways to appease it or put a smiley face on it. For example, the University of North Carolina introduced a course to help students better "understand" Islam as a "peaceful" religion. According to the New York Times, that led some coeds to "find parallels between [Islam] and Christianity."
And my alma mater, Brown University, put together a program intended to be taught at 1,000 high schools, "Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy." Student readings emphasize that Islam "is a religion that values family and tolerance," and that "throughout much of history, Muslims have lived peacefully with followers of other religions." Of course, that "peaceful" living came only after they conquered the Middle East, North Africa, and much of Europe in holy wars.
And the trend toward whitewashing Islam and giving place to it is still in fashion today.
Recently, Archbishop Rowan Williams suggested accommodating British Muslims to observe their own law, rather than that of the United Kingdom. Williams proposes finding "a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law"--in other words, sharia. That begs the question: Where would Williams draw the line? At husbands beating their wives for wearing Western clothes, or perhaps stoning a woman accused of adultery?
Williams’s fellow bishop, Michael Nazir-Ali begged to differ. His father had to leave Pakistan after converting to Christianity--he knows a few things, needless to say, about how Islam fails to mesh with Western ideas and law. Nazir-Ali told the UK Telegraph that sharia is "in tension" with "fundamental aspects" of Anglo-American law. That is because our "legal tradition" is "rooted in the quite different moral and spiritual vision deriving from the Bible." He also recently spoke about "no-go zones" that Christians should avoid due to threat of violence. Now his own family requires police protection as a result of death threats.
As I said recently on "BreakPoint," we fawningly respond to Islamic overtures for dialogue, even as we see Christians being persecuted in Muslim nations--and sharia law being imposed on others right in our own backyards. This is a sign of the Church’s weakness. We’re not involved in a mutual exercise of tolerance; we’re being hijacked.
OIL AND WATER
As I write in my book The Faith, Given Once for All, "the Church recognized civil society must enjoy a rightful independence from its control." It’s what brought about capitalism and the rule of law. Whereas, "theocracies like those Islam produces . . . always produce command economies by their nature." Thus, the Islamic Middle East fails to bring about a truly dynamic economic system.
There is no "both-and" situation when Islam enters the West, with its Christian roots. One displaces the other--their views of the world are wholly different. Christianity recognizes the dignity and independence of the individual; whereas, Islam rules with an iron fist, demanding all follow its law. And on the ground, that plays out in life-or-death situations: Remember, for example, the late Theo Van Gogh.
Van Gogh died violently in 2004 at the hand of fellow Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri left a note on Van Gogh’s dead body explaining his action as a message against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-born member of parliament who was radical Islam’s chief critic in the Netherlands. A former Muslim, Ali forthrightly said violence and oppression lie at the heart of Islam. Ali and Van Gogh had collaborated on a film, Submission, which graphically protested Islam’s mistreatment of women. At his trial, Bouyeri said his religion demanded he "cut off the heads of all those who insult Allah and his prophet."
THE DISAPPEARING WEST
We are already witnessing the disappearance of the West, as Europe’s birthrate spirals downward, and that of its Muslim immigrants continues to skyrocket. If the West does not fall, it will be absorbed by an expanding Islamic population, and likely ruled by radicalism. And Britain’s rapidly falling marriage rates do not help the matter.
Meanwhile, Christian women are marrying Muslim men, as Rosemary Sookhdeo wrote in Why Christian Women Convert to Islam. Many of these women have strong evangelical backgrounds, but later become disillusioned with Christianity or their faith wanes. They meet Muslim men in college who convince them there is no real difference between Islam and Christianity, or they marry Muslim converts to Christianity--who later convert back to Islam, due to pressure from family. They feel pressured to convert to Islam too, or risk losing their marriage--and even their children. This is why teaching our youth the fundamentals of the faith--and its differences from Islam--is so critical today. We need to move beyond engaging them in a happy Jesus-and-me "worship experience."
Orthodoxy does matter. My book The Faith is a great place to start in gauging the tenets of the Christian faith. Without it, the Church is left with no meaningful, effective way to counter Islam. And then we get suckered into not just tolerating, as we should, but embracing it as Archbishop Williams did.