Uncommon sense, and holy wisdom, from Omar Rikabi:
I have a Muslim problem. I am a Christian pastor in North Texas. I am also the proud son of a Muslim immigrant from the Middle East, and I have a very wonderful—and large—Muslim family. This is a problem, because when I hear about San Bernardino, or Paris, or any other terror event, my first prayer is to hold my breath and hope the killers do not have names like mine. This is a problem because down the highway from me some men with guns protested outside a mosque, then posted the names and home addresses of local Muslims online. This is a problem because a brother in Christ, and president of a large Christian university, received thunderous applause when he told his student body to get guns and help end Muslims before they kill us. This is a problem because a leading presidential candidate, along with the son of an iconic preacher, called for Muslims in our country to be tracked, databased, and banned from coming into the country, with both looking to the U.S. treatment of Japanese during WWII as inspiration. …Yes, there are Muslims who commit horrible acts of violence. But violence is not unique to Islam. It is common to all humanity. In our fallen depravity, all of us are radicalized by sin. This is not Muslim problem. This is a human problem. We need to get our stories straight, because the Gospel of Christ does not discount anyone from grace and salvation… even terrorists. Take Paul, who started out as a religious militant, overseeing the execution of Christians he saw as infidels because he thought that put him on God’s winning side. He went on to become the author of most of the New Testament. If I believe in prevenient grace—that Jesus is pursuing every person—I can only know what he’s up to by entering into another’s story through His holy love. How can I join in if I am running in fear from, discounting, and demonizing those made in the image of God? This is a problem for me, because it means I cannot dehumanize the politicians, preachers, and even friends who dehumanize my Muslim family. I cannot become a monster to defeat a monster.
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