Islam Requires Muslims to Protect Christians

BRmDegHCYAAiv7pFive years ago, I lost close friends in one of the most gruesome terrorist attack on Pakistani soil. In twin attacks on two Mosques in Lahore, 88 Ahmadi Muslim worshippers were killed at the hands of the Taliban. It was a painfully bloody day. This last weekend, I woke up to sad news from Pakistan that made me relive some of that pain.

Fourteen worshipers were killed, and more than 70 were injured, when two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up outside churches in the Youhanabad neighborhood of Lahore, Pakistan.

These attacks on Pakistan’s Christian community are not a sporadic event. They are a part of a very tragic trend. Just over a year ago, another suicide attack at a Peshawar church claimed 78 lives. Not long before this, an angry mob torched over a hundred houses in Lahore’s Joseph Colony, following blasphemy allegations against a Christian man. Another Christian couple — Shama and Shahzad — were recently lynched and burnt alive in a kiln on similar blasphemy charges. As in the Joseph Colony rampage, this mob violence was also led by a local cleric.

While Pakistan’s minority communities are frequently attacked by religious extremists, the state does very little to protect them. Even in the rare instance that the perpetrators of such attacks are caught alive, they get away with a mere slap on the wrist. Pakistan’s ruling party, the PML-N, is especially notorious in sponsoring hateagainst minority communities in an attempt to appease extremist elements that serve their vote bank. In fact, we now know that the Punjab Government under Mr. Shahbaz Sharif reportedly carried out negotiations with al Qaeda.

The reaction from the masses in Pakistan is not very encouraging either. The majority continue to remain apathetic to the ongoing persecution of minorities. The few that speak up are threatened and intimidated into silence. All this, while the Islamic faith requires that all Muslims stand up to such injustice.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST

Egyptian Christians, Muslims closer together in wake of martyrdoms in Libya, bishop says

topicCatholic World News – March 20, 2015

The 21 Coptic Christians who were slaughtered by the Islamic State in Libya are “true martyrs” and will be recognized as such, an Egyptian bishop has said.

Bishop Kyrillos William Samaan of Assiut told Aid to the Church in Need that the Coptic Catholic Church will follow the Coptic Orthodox Church in recognizing the 21 martyrs. “Pope Francis himself recognised them as martyrs,” he observed. “They were killed because they were Christians.”

Bishop Samaan said that Egyptian Christians have been moved by the response of the government to the killings. Egypt’s President el Sisi visited the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros to express his personal condolences; the prime minister visited the town from which most of the slain Copts came. The governor of that province has announced plans to build a church in their honor, and their village has been renamed “Village of the Martyrs.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM CATHOLIC CULTURE 

Three Christian misconceptions about Muslims

Muslim-blog — March 26, 2015

In my last post, I discussed three common misconception that Muslims have about Christians. Today, I will be exposing three misconceptions that Christians often believe concerning Muslims.

When the average Westerner hears “Muslim,” a number of images come to mind—mostly negative. But most Muslims would be just as horrified as we are at the assumptions entertained about them. Here are some of the most common misconceptions that Westerners have about Muslims:

Misconception 1: Most Muslims Support Terrorism.

Christians won’t usually come out and say that they think all Muslims are terrorists. But many do assume that the majority of Muslims support terrorism, albeit quietly. Much has been written about how Islam was established “by the sword,” or how Muslims engaging in terrorist activity are simply obeying what the Qur’an tells them to do. It is certainly easy to find Muslims using the Qur’an to justify violence. Even when you give the Qur’an a charitable reading, asking “What would Muhammad do?” will lead to a very different place than “What would Jesus do?”

That said, most of the Muslims you encounter—either in Western or in Islamic countries—are not violent people. They are kind, peaceable people and they are often embarrassed by the actions of Muslims throughout the world. While there is a good chance they see world politics very differently from the average Westerner, you will most likely find them warm, hospitable, and kind.

Yes, sincere Muslims believe that Islam will one day rule the world. And we can certainly chide Muslims for not speaking out more against terrorism. But we won’t get very far with them when we assume things about them that are not true. Just as we hate to be maligned, they hate it also.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY BLOG 

Open Letter From A Brother In Islam To His Sisters In Islam!

Equality-of-Men-and-Women-in-Islam

This Open Letter is dedicated to all my sisters in Islam, and it is written with you in mind. However, my brothers are also welcome to read it too.

I am writing it because, even though I myself am a young man, and not a woman, I feel that our faith, as it is practiced and understood today, privileges men over women, and thus, me over you.

However, after much reflection, study of the Koran and historical Islamic figures, and readings of the works of lesser known, and for the most part, female Islamic scholars, I have come to see that this privilege has absolutely nothing to do with God, and everything to do with patriarchal readings, interpretations, and translations of our holy book that over time have become crystallized as an integral part of the faith and blindly accepted, without criticism, by the vast majority of Muslims today. Obviously, there is more to it than only this, and hopefully I will be able to shed some light on some of the other reasons further on in this letter.

I will now share with you my Islamic journey, from the moment I took my Shahada until now, when I find myself writing these words on a cold swedish winter day. Since the words are only written with you in mind, there are many things that I will omit from the letter and thus all my reasons for my belief in God and my conversion to Islam will not be included. I will only write about the main reasons.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SOLAMEANSPEACEINPASHTO BLOG 

Faith and Values: Gentleness and mercy are teachings of Islam

muslim aidFrom the horrific attacks against schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Dec. 16, 2014, the Jan. 7 brutal attacks in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo offices, the bombing of an Islamic Center during Friday prayers in Shikarpur, Pakistan, on Jan. 30, 2015, the vicious and unthinkable killing of the Jordanian pilot, and all the barbaric beheadings, along with every brutality that has been committed by ISIL/ISIS, our deepest heartfelt condolences to the families and to humanity. Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Time again and again, horrendous killings of innocent people are committed by those who profess an Islamic identity. Yet there is absolutely nothing Islamic exhibited in their actions, though the perpetrators themselves may believe so. From them comes the self-proclaimed title “Islamic State.”

The Paris attack was committed earlier this year over the magazine satirizing the personality of the Holy Prophet. Extremists felt justified in carrying out their crime; however the horrible crime committed is, in itself, contradictory. Prophet Muhammad during his life never avenged any personal attacks against him; rather he prayed for those who mocked and harassed him.

We are often reminded about the incident of the lady who threw garbage on the Prophet as he passed by her home every day in hopes of humiliating and angering him. She never gained the desired reaction, so she persisted each day. One day, she wasn’t by her window, so Prophet Muhammad inquired about her, found out she was ill and then visited her and asked her if he could be of any assistance.

She initially thought he had come to seek revenge. Instead, he assisted in giving her food and cleaned her house until she was well. The lady was remorseful and asked for forgiveness. She found in him the mercy and gentleness that had brought hundreds into the folds of Islam. Still today, these teachings have moved a billion Muslims to profess the faith as propagated by Prophet Muhammad.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MCALL.COM

Muslim Women Are Fighting To Redefine Islam as a Religion of Equality

koran-quran-womanAnyone learning about Islam from the headlines alone might think it was a faith powered by violence, inflexible laws, and sexism. In Nigeria, the extremists of Boko Haram kidnap schoolgirls to use as sex slaves and suicide bombers. A manifesto distributed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) allows girls to marry at age nine and states that women should work outside the house only in “exceptional circumstances.” It’s not only extremist movements that treat women as second-class citizens, but also Western allies in the fight against them. Whether it’s Saudi Arabia, where women are banned from driving, or Egypt, where a husband can divorce his spouse without grounds or going to court, options denied to his wife, most Muslim countries run on the premise that men have a God-given authority over women.

But Muslim women are fighting back. While despotic governments and extremists battle for power, Islamic scholars, community activists, and ordinary Muslims are waging a peaceful jihad on male authority, demanding what they say are God- given rights to gender equality and justice.

From Cambridge to Cairo to Jakarta, women are going back to Islam’s classical texts and questioning the way men have read them for centuries. In the Middle East, activists are contesting outdated family laws based on Islamic jurisprudence, which give men the power in marriages, divorces, and custody issues. In Europe and the United States, women are chipping away at the customs that have had a chilling effect on women praying in mosques or holding leadership positions. This winter, the first women-only mosque opened in Los Angeles.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TIME