Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

CBN News story 8/24/13….Hundreds of Egyptian protestors, many of them Coptic Christians, rallied in front of the White House Thursday, outraged over President Barack Obama’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Don’t support terrorists!” protestor Hale Salem said. “Don’t support terrorists! Please, Mr. Obama I voted for you — don’t support terrorists.”

“He’s asking us as Egyptians to leave the terrorists in Egypt alone? To kill us, to kill our people? It’s not gonna happen,” another protestor declared.

Muslims were also present, voicing their opposition against the Brotherhood.

“I’m a Muslim,” demonstrator Mina Khalifa said. “It’s not a Christian thing. It’s an Egyptian thing.”

Another Muslim protestor, Suzanne Elnahal, said, “They are terrorists; they have done so many problems in Egypt.”

Meanwhile, there are new concerns the old regime is making a comeback, as former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison and flown to a military hospital. He is now under house arrest.

But protestors say Mubarak wasn’t as bad as ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

“He’s not really a good guy, but he’s not at least a terrorist,” anti-Brotherhood demonstrator Layla Sedhom said. “But Mohammed Morsi is a terrorist. He belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The protestors say the Egyptian military is needed to keep order.

“They protect us from (the) Muslim Brotherhood,” Madline Mansour, a Coptic Christian, said. “Muslim Brotherhood kill us, kill all Christian people. Morsi is a terrorist. He belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Those at the rally say the Brotherhood has burned dozens of Christian churches, businesses, and more.

“For the Coptic Christians, they burn their houses. They’re targeting them,” one protestor said.

The protestors are also angered by Western media coverage of the situation in Egypt. They rallied against the Washington Post, accusing both the newspaper and Obama of being biased in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“So the Obama administration helps the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; that’s not right,” anti-Brotherhood protestor Sawers Kamel said. “That has a lot of question marks. Why? Why?”

crossThe Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.

The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.

(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians–including chaplains–sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)

Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.

So President Barack Obama’s civilian appointees who lead the Pentagon are confirming that the military will make it a crime–possibly resulting in imprisonment–for those in uniform to share their faith. This would include chaplains—military officers who are ordained clergymen of their faith (mostly Christian pastors or priests, or Jewish rabbis)–whose duty since the founding of the U.S. military under George Washington is to teach their faith and minister to the spiritual needs of troops who come to them for counsel, instruction, or comfort.

This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.

In response to the Pentagon’s plans, retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning:

It’s a matter of what do they mean by “proselytizing.” …I think they’ve got their defintions a little confused. If you’re talking about coercion that’s one thing, but if you’re talking about the free exercise of our faith as individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, especially for the chaplains, they I think the worst thing we can do is stop the ability for a soldier to be able to exercise his faith.”

FRC has launched a petition here which has already collected over 30,000 signatures, calling on Secretary Hagel is stop working with Weinstein and his anti-Christian organization to develop military policy regarding religious faith.


The FRC petition has now exceeded more than 40,000 signatures at the time of this update.

Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is senior fellow for religious liberty with the Family Research Council and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.

English: A modern Coptic monastery

English: A modern Coptic monastery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2013 year began with reports indicating that wherever Christians live side by side with large numbers of Muslims, they are under attack.  One report said that “Africa, where Christianity spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest.” This is certainly true: whether in Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, or Tanzania, attacks on Christians in those countries are as frequent as they are graphic.

As for the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, a new study by the Pew Forum finds that “just 0.6 percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians now live in the Middle East and North Africa. Christians make up only 4% of the region’s inhabitants, drastically down from 20% a century ago and marking the smallest regional Christian minority in the world.  Fully 93% of the region is Muslim, and 1.6% is Jewish.”

How Christianity became all but eradicated from the region where it was born is made clear by yet another report concerning Egypt’s Christian Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian minority.  Due to a “climate of fear and uncertainty,” Christian families are leaving Egypt in large numbers.  Along with regular church attacks, the situation has gotten to the point that, according to one Coptic priest, “Salafis meet Christian girls in the street and order them to cover their hair.  Sometimes they hit them when they refuse.”  Another congregation leader said “With the new [Sharia-heavy] constitution, the new laws that are expected, and the majority in parliament I don’t believe we can be treated on an equal basis.”

Elsewhere, Christians are not allowed to flee.  In eastern Syria, for example, 25,000 Christians, including Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholics, Chaldeans and Armenians, were prevented from fleeing due to  a number of roadblocks set up by armed Islamic militia groups, who deliberately target Christians for robbery and kidnapping for ransoming, often slaughtering their victims.

Categorized by theme, January’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Church Attacks

Egypt: Reminiscent of the 2011 New Year’s Eve church bombing in Alexandria, which left over 23 Christians dead, a car packed with explosives was discovered by a Coptic church celebrating Christmas [which is in January] and neutralized before detonating.  A car with masked men was seen speeding away as patrols seized the explosives-packed car. Separately, hundreds of Muslims in the village of Fanous destroyed a social services building belonging to a Coptic Church while chanting Islamic slogans. Security forces arrived only after the building was completely destroyed. According to the report, the social services building “had all the necessary government permits; it had a reception hall on the first floor and a kindergarten on the second. But the Muslims insisted that it would become a church.” Mosques in surrounding areas had earlier called on Muslims through their megaphones to go and help their Muslim brethren in Fanous, because Christians were “building a church.” Hundreds of other Muslim protesters rioted outside yet another church in Upper Egypt, throwing stones at the building, on claims that a Christian man had sexually assaulted a 6-year-old Muslim girl.  Four stores owned by Copts were also torched.  Police are investigating the accusations.

Nigeria: A total of 30 Christians were slaughtered in two separate attacks carried out by armed men ahead of the New Year in the Muslim-majority north: on Sunday December 30, 15 people were killed when armed jihadis stormed a church and opened fire on worshippers.   The night before, Muslim terrorists broke into selected homes and slaughtered 15 other Christians in their sleep.  “The victims were selected because they were all Christians, some of whom had moved into the neighbourhood from other parts of the city hit by Boko Haram attacks,” said a relief worker. Meanwhile, Nigerian president Jonathan revealed that Boko Haram has enablers even within his own government: “the saboteurs in government condoning terrorism by Boko Haram, you do not love this nation. Those of you who leak secrets to Boko Haram do not love this nation.”

Pakistan:  On Christmas day, “when Christian worshipers were coming out of different Churches after performing Christmas prayers, more than one hundred Muslim extremists equipped with automatic rifles, pistols and sticks attacked the Christian women, children and men,” according to a report. Several were shot or beaten relentlessly.  Much of this appears to have been exacerbated by a fatwa, or an Islamic edict, that came out right before Christmas, saying that, “Christmas cannot be celebrated by Muslims because it is against the concept of monotheism in Islam.”  Due to the subsequent chaos, Christians “were under siege from Christmas day and running out of food supplies and milk for children on fear of safety and security of life from further attacks of [the] Muslim mob….  The news of this attack on Christians on Christmas Day was intentionally blocked by media and administration of capital city Islamabad.”

Russia: Security forces in a North Caucasus province on Sunday killed three Islamic militants suspected of planning attacks on church services during the Russian Orthodox Christmas holiday, which comes in January.  Security forces tried to stop a van in a Muslim-majority province but its occupants opened fire and were killed in the ensuing battle.  Guns and ammunition were subsequently discovered in the van indicating that the men were planning attacks on churches during services marking Russian Orthodox Christmas. “Deadly exchanges of gunfire between police and suspected militants at road checkpoints are common in Russia’s North Caucasus, a string of provinces hit by an Islamist insurgency rooted in two separatist wars in Chechnya,” adds the report.

Murders and Plots of Murder

Algeria: According to a local man who escaped an Islamic raid in the Sahara, the Islamic gunmen who seized hundreds of gas plant workers told staff they would not harm Muslims but would kill Western hostages whom they referred to as “Christians and infidels”: “The terrorists told us at the very start that they would not hurt Muslims but were only interested in the Christians and infidels. ‘We will kill them,’ they said.”

Egypt: Two bearded men, apparently Salafis —those Muslims who most try to pattern themselves after Islam’s prophet—in what appears to have been a random act of violence, stabbed a Christian woman in Alexandria. The two men were riding a motorcycle when they intercepted Mary and stabbed her in her abdomen as she was crossing the street, causing a serious wound in her peritoneal membrane. The Coptic woman was transported to the hospital where she underwent surgery. Although Mary’s family filed a complaint with the police, as usual, the head detective refused to go out and inspect the assault scene. An activist confirmed that this is not the first attack on Coptic women in Alexandria. Indeed there have been several such cases reported in January without any response from authorities.

Iraq: The nation’s ever dwindling Christian minority continues to suffer untold atrocities.  A Christian university medical student was killed by a car bomb a day after the body of a 54-year-old female Christian teacher was found with her throat cut.  The slain Christian woman was discovered in the same area where attacks have been perpetrated in the past against members of the city’s Christian minority, some abducted and murdered.

Turkey: An assassination plot against a Protestant pastor was thwarted when police arrested 14 suspects, two of whom had been part of his congregation for more than a year, pretending to be interested in Christianity; one went so far as to be baptized. “These people had infiltrated our church and collected information about me, my family and the church and were preparing an attack against us,” said the pastor, a native Turk and convert to Christianity. “Two of them attended our church for over a year and they were like family.”

Also, an 85-year-old Christian Armenian woman was repeatedly stabbed to death in her apartment.  A crucifix was carved onto her naked corpse.   Another elderly Christian Armenian woman was punched in the head and, after collapsing to the floor, repeatedly kicked by a masked man.   According to the report, “the attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women (one has lost an eye)….  Opinion remains divided as to whether these are organised hate crimes targeting non-Muslims or just random theft.” Yet according to Turkey’s Human Rights Association, “The attacks were carried out with racist motives,” that is, the victims were intentionally targeted for being Christian Armenians.

Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism

Egypt: A court sentenced an entire family—Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children—to fifteen years in prison for converting to Christianity. Seven other people were sentenced to five years in prison, primarily for facilitating the formal conversion of the family.  A born Christian, Nadia had earlier converted to Islam to marry a Muslim man; reconverting back to Christianity after the death of her husband, she attempted to reflect this change formally on her identity card and her children’s, which created suspicions among security, who arrested the family, followed by the subsequent fifteen year prison sentence.

Iran: Saeed Abedini, an American-Iranian Christian pastor was arrested and, in a sham trial, sentenced “to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. He will serve the time in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, known as one of the most brutal.” “This is a real travesty—a mockery of justice,” said the American pastor’s attorney. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.” This would certainly not be the first time Tehran behaves in such a manner.

Malaysia: Threats to burn Bibles in the Malay language were the latest in a series of attacks on Christianity in a nation regularly touted in the Western press as an example of a “moderate” Muslim nation.  A note, written in Malay, was sent to a Christian priest saying a Bible-burning festival would soon take place; it ended with a warning in English: “Let’s teach ‘em a lesson.” This latest threat “has had the desired effect of adding to the despair of Malaysian Christians. A fortnight ago the Sultan of the State of Selangor forbade Christians from using the word ‘Allah’, defying practice and convention in the country. The Arabic term for God, in usage in religious and cultural contexts before the dawn of Islam, has been used in Bibles in the Malay language and litany for more than 400 years.”  Attacks on Christianity in the nation are often framed in fear that Christianity will spread if not kept in check.

[General Abuse and Suppression of Non-Muslims as “Tolerated”  Citizens]

Egypt: A Muslim preacher, Hisham al-Ashri, appeared on primetime television saying that women not wearing the hijab, or veil, in public, are asking to get raped.  He framed his discussion around Christians, who in Egypt are obviously most likely not to wear veils.

“I was once asked: If I came to power, would I let Christian women remain unveiled? And I said: If they want to get raped on the streets, then they can,” said the Muslim preacher.  He further said that, “In order for Egypt to become fully Islamic, alcohol must be banned and all women must be covered,” a remark that clearly does not take Egypt’s large Christian minority—whose own religious beliefs do not mandate veils or ban alcohol—into consideration.

Indonesia: After being threatened with closure, six Catholic schools in the nation which has the largest Muslim population in the world, finally agreed to hire Islamic teachers and offer Islamic lessons to Muslim students.  While this seems equitable, in reality, Muslim schools habitually refuse to offer Christian lessons to Christian students in public schools, which teach Islam to all students.  As one Indonesian commentator put it, “If the regulation is upheld, will Islamic schools, which are more exclusive than Catholic schools when it comes to accepting students of different faiths, also be required to provide Buddhist, Christian or Hindu lessons for their non-Muslim students?”  Separately, the Indonesia Ulema Council’s East Java chapter urged other regions in the province to issue similar decrees so that all schools, be they state-run or managed by Christian foundations, provide Islamic lessons for their Muslim students.

Pakistan: A powerful government official’s aide running a prostitution ring abducted a 15-year-old Christian girl from her home, forcing her to convert to Islam and marry him.  A tenant of the Christian family, the Muslim man was evicted after police exposed his prostitution ring.  After he left, the girl disappeared; he called the girl’s family, and according to the mother, “He also claimed that Asma [the girl] had converted to Islam and asked us not to look for her, as she won’t be returning home.  I could not believe my ears, because Asma is hardly 15 and Ghaji [the Muslim man] is thrice her age,” she said. “I told him that I wanted to speak to Asma for the last time, so he handed over the phone to her. ‘What have you done my child, my child?’ I asked as Asma burst into tears. (She said), ‘They are not going to let me return home, mother—do something.’”  Police, as usual, refused to register a case, telling the devastated parents, “Do you know Ghaji works for Siraj Durrani [a governmental official]? I’d suggest that you forget your daughter and stop creating problems for your other children.”

Tanzania: During a Friday mosque sermon, a cleric called on Muslims “not to cooperate with Christians because they were infidels. He insisted that Muslims should not take part in Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter and other celebrations, including baptism and confirmation.” He also called on Muslims not to go to Christian funeral services, because infidel Christians are to be buried as dogs: “Let me tell you if you came from a Christian father or mother, but you got assimilated [converted to Islam], consider yourself you are lucky. But if one of your parents is deceased, you shouldn’t burry [sic] him or her, but just put him/her in the grave as if you [were] doing it to a dead dog.” The report further adds that, “Since the founding of the Saad bin Mwazi mosque in Makorora half a decade ago [where the above sermon took place], most residents of the area, including Christians and Muslims have been listening to hate sermons uttered in the mosque.”

Uzbekistan: Police detained 80 church leaders in a raid on a ministry training gathering.  In the process they insulted the Christians and confiscated their Bibles and Christian books, which were later destroyed by a court order.  According to the report, “Four leaders were charged with offences under the country’s harsh laws regarding religious practice, including violating the procedure for holding religious meetings, carrying out unauthorised religious activity and teaching religious beliefs without permission. They were each fined more than a year’s salary in Uzbekistan and are appealing against the ruling.  On 24 December, a court ordered that Bibles confiscated during the raid must be destroyed, despite the fact that the Committee on the Religious Affairs of Uzbekistan officially recognises the Bible as a legitimate text.”

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1. Intrinsically, to document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, increasingly chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.

2. Instrumentally, to show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy and blasphemy laws; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (tribute); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed “dhimmis” (barely tolerated citizens); and simple violence and murder. Oftentimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the west, to India in the east, and throughout the West, wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute

Lamentations 2:1 How the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion with the cloud of his anger! He has hurled down the splendor of Israel from heaven to earth; he has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.


Jerusalem was Israels Capital City, and Israel was God‘s chosen Nation. But when the people of Jerusalem turned their backs on God to worship Idols, their favored status did nothing to protect them from being punished. They had to endure God’s anger, just like anyone else who disobeys his commands. Unlike human anger, which is often a product of insecurity or deficient temperament, God’s anger comes from His perfect justice and Holiness. But it’s done like the punishment from a parent to a child. With love, for our own good.

Iran Elections

Iran Elections (Photo credit: bioxid)

By Reza Kahlili

Iran’s Basij Press is claiming a purported Gospel of Barnabas, discovered in 2000, will prove that Islam is the final and righteous religion, causing the collapse worldwide of Christianity.

Turkey confiscated the text, written on animal hide, in an anti-smuggling operation. Turkish authorities believe it could be an authentic version of the Gospel of Barnabas by the apostle known for his travels with the apostle Paul.

Basij Press contends the text was written in the 5th or 6th century and predicts the coming of Muhammad and the religion of Islam.

The Christian world, it says, denies the existence of such a gospel.

Another known “Barnabas Gospel” dates to the late 16th century, which would post-date Muhammad.

In the Barnabas text held by Turkey, chapter 41 states: “God has hidden himself as Archangel Michael ran them (Adam and Eve) out of heaven, (and) when Adam turned, he noticed that at top of the gateway to heaven, it was written ‘La elah ela Allah, Mohamad rasool Allah,’” meaning Allah is the only God and Muhammad his prophet.

The Turkish army has taken possession of the text because the “Zionists” and the governments of the West are trying to suppress its contents, Basij Press claims.

According to the Barnabas Gospel in Turkey’s hands, Basij Press says, Jesus was never crucified, He’s not the Son of God and He, Himself, predicts the coming of Muhammad. The book even predicts the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the report says.

“The discovery of the original Barnabas Bible will now undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world,” the Basij report says. “The most significant fact, though, is that this Bible has predicted the coming of Prophet Mohammad and in itself has verified the religion of Islam, and this alone will unbalance the powers of the world and create instability in the Christian world.”

The Basij report concludes that the discovery is so immense, it will affect world politics, and that the world powers have become aware of its impact.

Turkey plans to put the Bible on public display. Though Turkish authorities believe it could be an authentic version of the Gospel of Barnabas, others believe it only goes back to the 16th century and is a fake because it would have been written centuries after Muhammad’s life.

Erick Stakelbeck, host of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Stakelbeck on Terror” show and a close observer of Iranian affairs, said Iran is highlighting the book because it sees Christianity as a threat.

“The Iranian regime is committed to stamping out Christianity by any means necessary, whether that means executing Christian converts, burning Bibles or raiding underground churches,” he explained.

“In promoting the so-called Barnabas Bible – which was likely written sometime in the 16th century and is not accepted by any mainstream Christian denomination – the regime is once again attempting to discredit the Christian faith. Record numbers of young Iranians are leaving Islam and embracing Christ, and the mullahs see Christianity as a growing threat to their authority.”

The Vatican has requested to see the text, but it is unknown if Turkey has provided access.

Iranian ayatollahs regularly declared that Islam is the last and only righteous religion sent by God.

Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, in a recent statement, proclaimed that since the Quran was the last holy book and provides the most complete religion to the world, and Muhammad the last prophet, there is no authority to abide by other books. The Quran clearly indicates that only those who have accepted the true religion of Islam are the guided ones, he said.

As reported recently, a former intelligence officer in the Revolutionary Guards revealed that tens of thousands of Bibles were confiscated and burned in Iran under the order of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The mullah said the Bible is not a holy book and its burning is morally acceptable.

Khamenei said: “In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty Allah, the Zionists and the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated. Allah’s promise will be delivered and Islam will be victorious.”

Dome of the Rock & Cros עברית: צלב וכיפת ה...

Dome of the Rock & Cros עברית: צלב וכיפת הסלע, Original Image Name:נצרות ואיסלם, Location:ירושלים (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The relationship between Islam and Christianity is definitely a ‘live’ issue, an issue of contemporary concern. It is an issue of concern in our world, given the ongoing problems in Iraq and Palestine and the controversial role played by our own government and the government of the USA in those parts. It is an issue of concern in this country, given the explosion of asylum seekers and refugees who are of Islamic faith coming into this country. Also, in the last 20 years some 20,000 people born here in the UK have converted to Islam. It is an issue of concern for many of us on a personal level, the Muslim people we work with, live near, that our children perhaps go to school with.

As with all religions, but perhaps more acutely with Islam because of the national and international political issues, the pressure is on to downplay the differences between Islam and Christianity and emphasise the similarities, even to the point of saying along with President Bush, that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. But before I start to show just some of why that is a false assumption I want to make a couple of things very clear. These differences between Christianity and Islam are never an excuse for political hatred. They are never a valid justification for war. Neither do they justify more stringent immigration control. None of those things are a valid way to apply these differences.

I’m going to answer this question under two headings, similarities and differences.


There are many similarities between Christianity and Islam, here are some of the main ones as far as I can tell.

Both say that there is One God.

And that God is sovereign, he rules history.

The existence of Angels is another similarity.

Islam and Christianity both have Prophets and prophecy (Including many of the same characters Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Jesus).

Both believe in a Heaven and Hell and God’s future judgment.

So, what’s the difference, given all these things in common? After all, isn’t ‘Allah’ just the Arabic word for ‘High God’?

The main differences centre around Jesus.


Islam and Christianity disagree over Jesus’ identity

Although Muslims believe in one God, as do Christians, they reject as heresy that this one God is three persons. For more detail on what Christians believe on this, see the slot we did on this a few weeks ago which is posted on our website.  For now, let’s suffice to say that Muslims reject the idea of God being three in one. Especially, the Qu’ran (main holy book of Islam) is strong on saying that Jesus isn’t God;

‘Isa (Jesus) was simply a created human being, and a slave of Allah’

An-Nisa’ 4:172

Jesus is given great honour in the Qu-ran, his status as a prophet and as a miracle-worker, even as God’s Christ is strongly affirmed. But he’s not God. In contrast the Bible is adamant that far from being just a created being, that Jesus is God himself become a human being.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’

John 1:1 and 14

Islam and Christianity disagree over Jesus’ death

Because Jesus is just a prophet, (albeit a great one) it is unthinkable to the teachings of Islam that a prophet of Allah could die a horrible shameful death like a crucifixion. So the Qu’ran actually goes so far as to claim that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, Judas died in his place, God made him to look like Jesus as payback for his wicked betrayal of Jesus and the two were switched at the crucial time.

‘…in reality he was not killed or crucified, and those who said he was crucified lied.’

An-Nisa’ 4:157

In contrast, the early Christians were willing to stake their honour, face ridicule and shame, by declaring that Jesus was the messiah who was crucified, that he did die a shameful painful public humiliating death. So Paul can even boast that

‘…we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to Gentiles.’

1 Corinthians 1:23

Because they disagree over these two things there is a third fundamental disagreement between Islam and Christianity.

Islam and Christianity disagree over the way to escape judgment

In Islam, the way someone gains God’s approval and escapes his wrath on the final day of judgment is by ‘falah‘, that is a word that means self-effort or positive achievement. Submit to God and follow all of his directives as found in the Qu’ran. Judgment day will involve some kind of weighing up of what we’ve done wrong and what we’ve done right. And even then entry into heaven is down to whether or not Allah decides to grant you mercy on the last day. This is diametrically opposed to Christianity. According to the Bible, no-one can ever be good enough to deserve God’s favour, to win God’s heaven, because from birth we are all pre-disposed to rejecting God and living our lives our own way. That’s why it was necessary for God himself to shrink into a human body and die on a cross, dying the death we deserve.

The only way to escape judgment and rejection from God according to the Bible is for God himself to have taken the full force of that judgment for us, which is what Jesus’ humiliating death on a cross was all about. What we need according to the Bible is not ‘falah’ but faith. To have faith in, to trust, to rely on Jesus and his death as our escape route. Those with faith in Jesus now can be sure that in the future God will welcome them into his heaven with wide open arms as if they deserved to be there as much as Jesus himself.

Ultimately then Islam and Christianity present two very different gods who may share some similarities but who have different identities and ultimately different standards. To pretend they are the same is patronising to both Muslims and Christians. Such smoothing over the cracks is also dangerous as it might well prevent people from engaging with the real issues, who is the God who is really there and how can I be in relationship with him?

I have my ways of explaining the time difference between what the Bible says, and what modern science says, but I always like to hear new and creative ways to talk to people who don’t believe like we do. Having said that, when a non-believer sees an article like the one below, how do you explain to them the difference between the Bible time line and the world of science? This should be a great discussion and I’m looking forward to hearing some incredible feedback. Hint, the Bibles is actually easier to explain because it’s true….

GROZNY, Russia — Geologists in Russia’s volatile Chechnya region have discovered what they believe to be fossilized dinosaur eggs laid by one of the huge extinct reptiles that roamed the Earth more than 60 million years ago.

“We’ve found about 40 eggs so far, the exact number has not been established,” said Said-Emin Dzhabrailov, a geologist at the Chechen State University.

“There could be many more laying under the ground.”

The find was uncovered when a construction crew was blasting through a hillside to build a road near the region’s border with former Soviet Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains.

A team of geologists stumbled across the smooth, oval rock-like forms, which range from 25 cm to one meter coincidentally on a recent trip to the area, said Dzhabrailov.

He said paleontologists were needed to determine which species of dinosaur had laid them.

Dzhabrailov said that the regional Chechen government, which is eager to shed the region’s reputation for violence, is considering turning the area into a nature preserve and seeking to attract tourists.

Federal forces fought two separatists wars between 1994-2001 in Chechnya, and an Islamist insurgency persists in the mostly Muslim region and surrounding provinces of Russia’s North Caucasus.

However, violence has declined under the strong-arm rule of Ramzan Kadyrov, whose multi-million dollar construction projects are aimed at raising the region’s profile and boosting the tourism potential of the troubled area.

Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen...

Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen from space (NASA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people.

The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there.

The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children’s laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.

What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the river Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie not the country about.

This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure.

The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.