Today’s Picks all center around one theme…
The combined issues of immigration, refugees, and terrorism seem to be on everyone’s mind to one degree or another. There seems to be a deep divide among us between the “open up our borders to all” people and the “ban all Muslims” people. I suppose this is another manifestation of the deep divide we already have on so many issues, and as usual, the extremes on either side don’t really listen, or even consider, the thinking of the other, preferring instead to simply shout slogans and demean the character of those who disagree.
I suggest we all take a moment to stop talking and try to understand.
In my own effort to do this I’ve come across several articles that I have found very helpful in my understanding of some things that, honestly, I’d never spent any time really thinking about.
I’m sharing these articles below in the hope that you find them as enlightening as I did. They will require some thought, and a willingness to understand another’s perspective.
Please understand that my focus here is not political. I have my thoughts on this, but on this blog I am not crusading for any particular governmental approach to these things. As I have said in my previous post on the subject, my main concern here is how we Christians respond and behave.
The first is an article I shared on Facebook a while back. I still think it’s one of the best things I’ve read on the subject.
What ISIS Really Wants –Graeme Wood
“The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.”
This next is an excellent article by someone in a position to understand how the radical Islamist thinks. He draws the distinction between “Islamism” and Islam. As a Christian I understand that all Christians are not the same. In fact, there are some who are so far removed from the actual teaching of Jesus and the New Testament that I would like not even use the term “Christian” to refer to them.
It seems we have trouble understanding that Islam is just as fragmented as Christianity, and that what is true of the most extreme sects is not in any way true for all Muslims.
How to Beat Islamic State –Maajid Nawaz
“As a young Muslim growing up in the U.K., I spent more than a decade as one of the leaders of a global Islamist group that advocated the return of a caliphate, though not through terrorism. My activities eventually led me to Egypt, where at 24 I was jailed as a political prisoner and sentenced to five years in Mazra Tora prison.
Only in jail, after Amnesty International adopted my case, did I dedicate myself to rereading, reviewing and reappraising my every thought. As I deradicalized myself over the next five years, I eventually concluded that Islam, my faith, was being exploited for a totalitarian political project and must be reclaimed from the theocrats. I have spent the past eight years doing just that through a counterextremism organization that I co-founded.”
Finally, I offer this very personal piece from the perspective of a Christian pastor who is the son of a Muslim immigrant to the United States.
My Muslim Problem –Omar Rikabi
“I get the fear of terrorism. Part of my family’s story includes those living as refugees in foreign countries, mourning the memory of a loved one shot to death because of religious and ethnic extremism.
And I have fears, too. I fear what the rhetoric of “track and ban” could lead to, because history’s darkest ethnic atrocities started with this kind of talk. And I’m afraid, because of our current climate, that someone will hurt my wife or my girls because our name sounds like those terrorist names.
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 a Muslim problem.
This is a human problem.”