Abu Dhabi priest’s book about Jesus in Arabia to be published in Arabic

na25-JUL-Religious-Tolerance.jpgJesus of Arabia was translated by a four-person Christian and Muslim Arab team from publishers Motivate

A UAE-based Christian priest’s book showing how Jesus had more in common with Arabian Islamic culture rather than western is to be published into Arabic.

Jesus of Arabia was penned by Rev Andy Thompson, the chaplain at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi, and it also examines the bridges between Islam and Christianity.

The book was first published in English in 2014 and now the Arabic version will launch at St Andrew’s on Tuesday. It is rare that a book written by a Christian resident about Jesus receives such a treatment and Rev Thompson says the event is a pre-Christmas celebration of Jesus for both Muslims and Christians.

“A lot of conversations between Muslims and Christians get bogged down in dogma and it is not really helpful,” said Mr Thompson. “I want to promote education between our two communities which is different from proselytising.

“Education helps us to know one another – meeting with respect and mutual acceptance and we can only do that by recognising our shared heritage in Jesus,” he said.

The Arabic version took about a year to produce, spans 200 pages and was translated by a four-person Christian and Muslim Arab team from publishers Motivate over a two to three-month period. The team carefully translated the text to maintain the respectful tone of the English version.

“Getting the Arabic flavour for that was important so we need both Christian and Muslim Arab translators to make it work. There was an ongoing dialogue between them,” said Mr Thompson.

Over the centuries, Jesus has been recreated in a western image.



A Muslim’s Advice To American Christians


The opening week of 2017 saw the publication of a remarkable book, Letters to a Young Muslim, written by Omar Saif Ghobash, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Russia. Letters is a series of reflections about Islam explicitly addressed to the author’s teenage son but also, implicitly, to the entire Muslim Ummah, or worldwide community.

The book doubtlessly will stick in the craws of Americans who persist in believing, contrary to both evidence and common sense, that Islam is a monolithic cult of hatred and violence. It will also infuriate ISIS thugs besotted by their violence-soaked vision of a resurrected caliphate.

But those who deplore the hijacking of religion by willfully ignorant and dangerously self-righteous fanatics will find Ghobash’s book a drink of cool water. In it, he struggles to rescue the essence of Islam from the distortions of it promulgated by Islamists by cogently identifying and firmly calling out the less-than-holy motives and confusions that prompt their jihads.

About halfway through my reading of Letters, it struck me that some of Ghobash’s explanations of how zealots have distorted Islam uncomfortably parallel the motives and means by which American Christianity has been hijacked by our own jihadists. I’m quite certain that Ghobash’s intention isn’t to lecture American Christians on our faith, although God knows we could use a good talking to. Nonetheless, those of us concerned about American Christianity’s malformation by zealots who mistake obduracy for purity, judgmentalism for righteousness, and political partisanship for faith can learn from Letters.