Tuesday, September 7, 2010
If you haven't heard already, a church in Gainesville called Dove World Outreach Center is apparently hosting a Qu'ran burning for Saturday, September 11th.
Now, I know there are a lot of ways some could potentially justify this (far-fetched, but possible because of some of the awful tenets of the religion), but even the most casual, occasional Bible reader should readily admit that this is NOT something that Jesus would do. Right? And isn't it ironic...they're called DOVE (peace?) WORLD OUTREACH (ahemm......) Center.
I am a Christian, and I have Muslim friends. Now, realistically, there are a lot of Muslims out there, even on my college campus, who don't believe in associating with Christians (taken from a verse from Sura). They reject any pursuit of friendship. Girls with scarves will only befriend girls with scarves. But one of the two Muslim girls I'm friends with is actually one of my very good friends. She says that she respects Christians more than she respects most Muslims, saying that while the Christians she knows are actually true to what they believe, the Muslim community on campus is hateful and hypocritical (in the sense that they say they are "religious" but they don't follow good morals the way a good religious person should). But she still wears the scarf. Twice I have been with her when a couple of Palestinian girls walked by and greeted her in Arabic just because she was wearing a scarf, and she fumed.
So, what do I believe about interacting with Muslims? Let me tell a different story. One day I happened to be browsing through my other friend's Facebook pictures. She seems to be more like an evangelistic Muslim--one who gains converts. Hey, I can relate to that. I can relate to a lot of things. So I saw one picture of her Muslim campus group (girls only) all together, and one of the girls was named Jihad. I stared. My eyes welled up with tears. Her parents named her Jihad. I couldn't believe it. Who were they to say what she would really believe? I wondered if she even liked the name. I realized that day that sometimes people get born into things that they're forced to stay in (remember the girl from Ohio who converted to Christianity and her dad tried to kill her?), even in America. But Jesus never meant for us to sit around apathetic anyway. Just look at Revelation 3:16. I mean, my parents weren't anywhere near supportive of my coming to Christ.
Qu'ran burning is not the answer, and it does not represent Christ or what his followers stand for. Please do not take their decision to do this as representative of all Christians, because those of us who truly follow Christ have genuine love and care in our hearts for the Muslim world. We know we are dealing with some sticky situations because of a sad religion, but we also know that Jesus would never leave them out of the glorious salvation that we will get to enjoy one day. I would encourage everyone to take the same view. We are called to spread the gospel--since when did that EVER leave out the people who set themselves against us as enemies?
(UPDATE: The pastor of Dove World Outreach Center ended up canceling the Qu'ran burning and it never happened. However, it did spark violence in Afghanistan and a few people died, just like President Obama warned. And Westboro Baptist Church vowed last week that if he canceled it, they would do one, similar to the one they already did in 2008. You may also want to check out Wes's post on this, as it gives more information.)