We are glad that you are reading our materials. We feel that it is important for Christians to understand their Muslim neighbors, co-workers, and students. Regrettably, many Christians still hold prejudices against Muslims, because they lack personal knowledge of Islam or experience with Muslim relationships. We discourage argument or debate in our course, and we wish to promote a constructive, unbiased view of Islam, Muhammad, and Muslims.
Even though Encountering the World of Islam is an evangelical ministry, we do not promote proselytism or any other form of coercion or inducement. We discourage any negative forms of personal witness which are argumentative or do not demonstrate respect for the traditions and opinions of others.
We are compelled by Christ to share our faith. However, we understand this must be done in gentleness, love, respect, and not on a conditional basis: 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” The response to our witness is in God’s hands, and we feel that Christians are not in any way to appear intimidating.
Within the course, we also call on Christians to pray for, and strive for improvements in, the human conditions for Muslims. Many Muslims do not have access to human rights, basic education, healthcare, clean water, or adequate food, and many are not able to freely practice their religion or have a voice in governing their own affairs.
We recognize that our approach may differ from the public response of racism, anti-immigration, or hate-speech from those with Christian affiliations seeking to discriminate against the equal rights of all members of our society. Sadly, too many Christians have responded to terrorism with fear of all Muslims. Many may have only heard a pro-Israeli point of view on Palestinian-Israeli issues. Some have even participated or stood idle as mosques have been defaced or Qur’ans burned. Others have disparaged Islam, not recognizing the deep debt that all modern societies owe Islamic civilization. We condemn the wrongs carried out against Muslims, however mistakenly, in the name of Christ (such as the Crusades, slavery, imperialism, and even current forms of political-economic oppression). Christians should not be silent on these issues or allow the name of Jesus Christ to
be dishonored by the sins of opportunistic so-called Christians.
We have been overjoyed to help a number of churches respond constructively to the local and global community of Muslims. In the numerous courses we have held, Muslim leaders from the local communities have been invited to speak and have been warmly received. Students in the classes have read from the Qur’an and Muslim authors. They have also heard from Palestinian Christians who gave a more balanced view of the Middle East. We have encouraged each student to begin an open dialogue with a Muslim acquaintance for the purpose of friendship,
We feel that Christians should listen to Muslims, because many Muslims explain their views better than we ever could as non-Muslims. We have chosen materials written by Muslims rather than Christian or secular authors to explain the life of Muhammad, Muslim contributions to global civilization, and the diversity of views in the Muslim community. We believe Muslim-authored materials give insightful and truthful testimony to Islam. We also think that Christians will benefit from reading these articles no matter what degree of background knowledge of Islam
We believe our curriculum will help Christians appreciate Islam, Muhammad, and Muslims, as they see points we have in common. Perhaps for the fi rst time, they will hear Muslims thoughtfully and reasonably explain their faith. We specifically thank the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Amana Publications, and Dr. Javeed Akhter for trusting us to include their articles. We sincerely hope—for it is our intention—that all of our materials will prove to be consistently respectful, while at the same time clearly presenting our desire to obediently share our faith in Jesus Christ with Muslims.