On September 11, 2001, I must admit I knew next to nothing about Muslims or Islam as a religion. I knew about the invasion of the Turks during the Middle Ages into the Holy Land, and the West’s attempt to remove them, more popularly known as the “Crusades,” but I knew nothing about the religion itself.
Like most, over the next few weeks, I heard a lot of things. That they were insane murderers bent on destroying others, especially Americans, especially Christian Americans.
Like many, I developed a rather untrue, unhealthy, and ungodly view of Muslims that year. For awhile, when I heard about Muslims, all I could see was an enemy…a threat.
But once the fervor wore off about a year or so later, I began to reexamine those prejudices and feelings. Say what you will about college life, but it does help a young man to reflect and examine his life and beliefs. (Really, the Church should be encouraging young people to do the same, but sadly most Church leaders are afraid to question or reexamine anything for fear of disturbing the status quo.)
As I began to really study Islam, where it started, who started it, why he started it, how its changed, and what it is today, I began to see there was a much bigger and more complicated picture than what was going on in Afghanistan with the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.
I began to discover that not all Arabians are Muslim and not all Muslims were Arabian (in fact, most aren’t), and that the vast majority of Muslims want nothing to do with terrorism. In fact, comparing all Muslims to the Al Qaeda terrorists is not unlike comparing all Christians to the Westboro Baptist cult.
The Gospel Coalition has been good enough to provide a beginner’s guide to Islam in the hopes of helping Christians to dispel the myths and begin to build bridges between ourselves and the increasing number of Muslims we are now seeing migrate into the States. Bridges that will, God willing, bring the Gospel to these mostly kind but seriously misguided people.