Friday, November 30, 2007

Islam: A Religion of Peace and Tolerance?

Note the cry of Sudanese Muslims protesting because the Gillian Gibbons did not get the death penalty for allowing her Muslim students to name their teddy bear Muhammed:

The protesters called for Gibbons' execution, saying, "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

If this were an isolated incident and performed only by a few, then one might could dismiss it as radicals of a particular religion, but as was witnessed earlier by the response to the cartoon, this type practice is not isolated nor is it performed and condoned only by a few on the fringe; rather it points to the result of a religion whose foundation is tied up in a man, who therefore must be radically protected and defended, rather than in God.

My challenge is for Muslims to look closely at what's taking place, examine the reasoning behind what's taking place, and ask the questions: Does it not strike one as odd that rather than the name of God himself or the message brought by his prophet, it's the name of the prophet himself that needs protecting the most and that evokes the greatest rage even at the slightest or perceived mishandling or permissive use of his name as in this case? Does the reasoning and response of the protesters reflect the character and response that is found not only with God but that comes from God? If in asking these questions, you come to question or take issue with the facts and foundations of Islam, consider the God of Christianity, whose truth is not dependent upon a man, nor is the validity of his Messiah dependent upon human testimony (John 5, 8), but is one who only only testifies from heaven itself, but also produces a character and calls for a different type response than that demonstrated by the Muslim protesters.

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