Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Bridging the Gap Between Christians and Muslims - by Some

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Following the September 11 attacks, Pastor Bill Hybels, of the Willow Creek Community Church, was increasingly bothered by reports of hate crimes and misinformation about Islam. "I was so concerned by the gap between Muslims and Christians that I thought Willow could do something about that," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. That "something" was to have his church invite a local Muslim leader, Fisal Hammouda, to talk about Islam to a total of 17,000 churchgoers, spread out over four services. "There are some Christians spreading half-truths that the Koran encourages violence," Hybels told his congregation. "[When] you take some stuff out of context ... we've got major problems." Hammouda, a U.S. citizen, an engineer and religious leader in the Islamic Center in Naperville, first visited Willow Creek as part of the church's world religions weekend in March. In one of his current appearances, Hammouda was questioned by Hybels, on stage in the 4,500-person auditorium. Hybels asked, "It appears that Osama bin Laden directed the attack [on September 11]... What do you think?" Hammouda said at first that he thought "it couldn't be a Muslim," explaining that the Koran does not allow violence against innocent people. "We believe in Jesus, more than you do, in fact," Hammouda said, drawing laughter when Hybels, smiling, ventured to disagree. "Muslims consider Jesus and other biblical figures to be Islamic prophets--though not as important as Muhammad--and we have all the prophets from the Bible," Hammouda said.

Certainly, it will be beneficial for us to become better acquainted with Islam and how the Muslim world thinks. HybelÕs way might be attractive and crowd-pleasing, but reading up on Islam should be enough. You can do so on a website set up by Bill VanDoodewaard of the St. Thomas FRC who has specialized in Islamic studies and evangelizing Muslims. Just about anything you ever want to know or ask about this topic can be found on:

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