Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
SOMALIA: CHRISTIAN AID WORKER BEHEADED FOR CONVERTING FROM ISLAM
10/28/2008 - James WhiteAnti-Christian violence spills into Kenya as Somali Muslims attack in Nairobi.
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 (Compass Direct News) – Among at least 24 aid workers killed in Somalia this year was one who was beheaded last month specifically for converting from Islam to Christianity, among other charges, according to an eyewitness.
Muslim extremists from the al Shabab group fighting the transitional government on Sept. 23 sliced the head off of Mansuur Mohammed, 25, a World Food Program (WFP) worker, before horrified onlookers of Manyafulka village, 10 kilometers (six miles) from Baidoa.
The militants had intercepted Mohammed and a WFP driver, who managed to escape, earlier in the morning. Sources close to Mohammed’s family said he converted from Islam to Christianity in 2005.
The eyewitness, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said the militants that afternoon gathered the villagers of Manyafulka, telling them that they would prepare a feast for them. The people gathered anticipating the slaughter of a sheep, goat or camel according to local custom.
Five masked men emerged carrying guns, wielding Somali swords and dragging the handcuffed Mohammed. One pulled back Mohammed’s head, exposing his face as he scraped his sword against his short hair as if to sharpen it. Another recited the Quran as he proclaimed that Mohammed was a “murtid,” an Arabic term for one who converts from Islam to Christianity.
The Muslim militant announced that Mohammed was an infidel and a spy for occupying Ethiopian soldiers.
Mohammed remained calm with an expressionless face, never uttering a word, said the eyewitness. As the chanting of “Allah Akubar [God is greater]” rose to a crescendo, one of the militiamen twisted his head, allowing the other to slit his neck. When the head was finally severed from the torso, the killers cheered as they displayed it to the petrified crowd.
The militants allowed one of their accomplices to take a video of the slaughter using a mobile phone. The video was later circulated secretly and sold in Somalia and in neighboring countries in what many see as a strategy to instill fear among those contemplating conversion from Islam to Christianity.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that a similar incident took place in Lower Juba province of Somalia in July, when Christians found with Bibles were publicly executed. Their families fled to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, and such killings are forcing other Christians to flee to neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Joshua Evans, Former "Youth Minister," on the Deen Show, #2
10/20/2008 - James White
Pray for the Persecuted Church in Iran
10/18/2008 - James WhiteThe hatred of God's people continues unabated in Iran where the zealous persecuters of Christ's followers are getting close to final governmental approval of the death penalty for any male who converts from Islam (mere life imprisonment for women). Read about it here. Once again, it needs to be repeated that this kind of action is perfectly in line with the earliest Islamic traditions and law regarding "apostasy." Christians pray for those who convert to Islam. Here we see what happens when Islam becomes the majority.
Ibn Masud's End and the Text of the Qur'an
10/17/2008 - James White
Recently some Muslims attempted to deflect my criticisms through alleging inconsistency on my part. Here is my response, in which I seek to turn their attack for their own good. I address the issue of Ibn Masud, his version of the Qur'an, and whether he stood firm in his convictions or not.
Shadid Lewis on John 14:28
10/13/2008 - James White
Nabeel Qureshi vs. Shadid Lewis and 1 Corinthians 8:6
10/06/2008 - James White
Valuable Insight into Islamic Attitudes Toward Christianity and Christians
10/04/2008 - James White
Very early this morning I happened to get up. I wandered into the kitchen to get a drink, and ran my finger over the touchpad of my Mac to check my mail. One of the e-mails was from Sami Zaatari, a Palestinian Muslim living in London. Mr. Zaatari was in the LA area a few weeks ago, and presented Islamic objections to the Christian proclamation of the Gospel during the Friday evening activities. You may recall that he was one of the Muslim debaters in Norfolk, Virginia earlier this year as well. He is a very young gentleman. When I first heard him speak I could tell he was an intelligent fellow, though not at all well read in the Christian faith, to be sure. During his second debate I was a bit less impressed, simply because I sensed a certain sharpness as in a willingness to say things that are simply untrue for the sake of "effect." He likewise demonstrated the standard "Muslim street" tactic of citing anything, no matter how inconsistent it might be with his own self-professed worldview, as long as it could be used as a shallow, thoughtless weapon against Christianity.
Mr. Zaatari and I will be debating in London in November, and again at some point (date not yet determined as I write this) in Connecticut in February (along with Jalal Abualrub). I am sometimes asked why I would debate a young, inexperienced man like Sami Zaatari. The answer is simple: while I seek to defend the Christian gospel against the leading proponents of Islam, I have come to realize that especially in the West, there is a vast difference between the arguments and approach of those leading intellectuals and those in leadership in Muslim countries. You can see this for yourself. Go listen to a Hamza Yusuf lecture on YouTube, then listen to MemriTV and listen to the most recent appearance of a leading Imam from Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the like, and compare them. If you did not know better you would think they were presenting different religions, the only similarity being the language they use. Of course, in passing, you might note the freedom Muslims have in non-Islamic countries to speak their case, and the lack of such freedom for Christians in the Islamic countries. We will return to that later. In any case, Mr. Zaatari represents the "Muslim street," the kind of Islam that represents the views and feelings of the mass of Muslims, the ones living in Islamic societies, and, the ones attacking our brothers and sisters in other lands. They may do so only verbally, arguing against Christians in the marketplace, but as we all know, they do so regularly in a much more open fashion, persecuting, beating, imprisoning, and even killing, believers who refuse to renounce their allegiance to Jesus Christ. So for the sake of those precious believers who suffer in Muslim lands, I debate the Sami Zaataris and Osama Abdullahs and Jalal Abualrubs so that I may provide to those precious brothers and sisters the biblical and apologetic resources they need to give an answer in their own contexts. As long as I have the freedom to do so, I will. Of course, Islamic leaders are doing their best to use the ignorance and gullibility of the secularized West to silence all such efforts, as I noted just yesterday here on the blog.
Now, the last contact I had with Mr. Zaatari were some e-mails a few days about out the details of our upcoming debate. They had been "bland" discussions, nothing of any note. So as I scanned the beginning of Mr. Zaatari's e-mail early this morning, I was left wondering what had happened. The first paragraph read:
Here is a new article I just wrote against you http://muslim-responses.com/Soldier_of_Christ/Soldier_of_Christ_ which fully exposes you to the core. It exposes what is becoming an apparent rising bigotry in yourself against the Muslim nation. I am seriously loosing more respect for you by the MINUTE, not the days or weeks or months, but by the MINUTE, not that you really care though but I care and I just though you should know how I feel about you before we debate because I’m not a coward and speak my mind and let people truly know what I truly believe and feel, whether it be about their beliefs or the person them self.
Now, at first I really had no idea what had gotten into Mr. Zaatari. My mind turned to the recent videos I had posted, and I wondered if maybe my noting that 1oftheMuslims (a YouTube poster) had stolen a bad argument directly from Gary Miller without attribution had something to do with it. But, I wasn't interested in delving into it in the wee small hours of the morning, so I went to bed, pondering the odd explosion of nastiness from Mr. Zaatari.
I rose this morning and went back to the e-mail, this time following the link to the article. And finally I had my answer. As you can see by reading his article, we have here a very valuable insight into the religio-political nature of Islam. Islam is not merely a religion. It is an entire political ideology. They are inextricably linked. To the Muslim who cannot think outside of that "box," the matters that separate us are not primarily religious in nature. It would be like my trying to hear Barak Obama lecture on monergism vs. synergism: no matter how hard I try, I will "hear" what he would say with political overtones of partial birth abortion, gay "marriage," and sub-prime mortgages, and the truly religious nature of the dialogue would be deeply, deeply colored by those things. This is how the Muslim hears the Christian speaking today (outside of the intervention of the Spirit, anyway). I posted a letter from....A SOLDIER! Gasp! The fact that it never once crossed my mind in doing so that someone like Sami Zaatari, a Palestinian Muslim, would come unglued as a result, illustrates the vast chasm that separates us. For him, I am a hypocrite, since, for him, this illustrates that "Christianity" is invading Islam.
A similar thing happened recently in talking to Osama Abdullah on the way to San Diego. Mr. Abdullah blamed Christianity for the rise in homosexuality. He made reference to "Christian cultures." I demanded he name a single "Christian culture" in the world today. After repeatedly demanding he do so, he finally said, "Well...America!" He found himself on the end of a fairly fervent mini-sermon, I assure you. But this is how they think. For them, it is Christianity vs. Islam, the Crusaders vs. the faithful. And no matter how painfully obvious it is that the West HATES the Gospel, DESPISES God's law, and only rarely FEIGNS honor toward Christ, their political ideology trumps these facts and twists their thinking. The result has so far cost countless lives.
This mindset explains lots of things. For example, Muslims will call almost anyone in the West a "Christian" when citing sources in debates, even if there is a clear, obvious inconsistency in so doing. The political boundaries trump those of theology. Hence, they can assert a level of disagreement amongst "Christians" that doesn't actually exist, simply because they insist that basically, if you aren't a Muslim in the West, you are a Christian. Hence, secular liberalism becomes a form of Christianity in their thinking. So, the secularists who promote homosexuality are "Christians," hence, Christianity becomes responsible for homosexuality, abortion, you name it. Logical? Truthful? Of course not. But it is the Muslim mind, and we better understand it. Of course, as soon as we understand it, we are faced with a major problem: if the Muslim mind is, by definition, irrational and impervious to truth, what hope is there? And that is why theology matters! If you are an Arminian reading this, I don't have any suggestions for you. If you, like me, believe God raises the spiritually dead to life, changes hearts and minds by sovereign grace, then you already know why the situation is not hopeless.
So you can see the great "hypocrisy" I am guilty of in the mind of Sami Zaatari. For him, any soldier is equivalent to a Crusader, in essence (though, anyone at all familiar with the Crusades and the Islamic response knows how deeply, deeply ignorant modern Muslims are about that time period). So, while I can express amazement at Jalal Abualrub's assertion that "Christianity invaded Iraq," here I am saying just the opposite. Or so, that is what he "hears," not because it is true, but because Islam by its very nature distorts and twists the truth.
I know only the Spirit of God can make Sami "hear" what I am saying, and I truly pray God will open the young man's mind to the glory of Christ. But I will keep saying it, in the hopes that eventually, God will have mercy upon his soul....
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Open Invitation to Zakir Naik, Jamal Badawi, Shabir Ally, and...
10/03/2008 - James WhiteArabic Christian Perspective has posted an open challenge to Zakir Naik, Jamal Badawi, and Shabir Ally, to debate myself, David Wood, and Sam Shamoun. You can read about the open challenge here. I know I would very much like to engage Shabir Ally in debate on an Islamic topic, as I have twice defended the Christian faith against him. I would love to ask him if he can consistently explain the Qur'anic parallel passages where differences of language, sequence, etc, exist, in light of his comments about the Synoptic Gospels in our debate at Biola in 2006. I have sought to have Jamal Badawi debate repeatedly as well. And I realize that Zakir Naik is seen by many Muslims in India and elsewhere as their leading intellectual spokesman. I would dearly love to correct him on his many, many misapprehensions of the Christian faith.
It certainly must be admitted that it is the Christian side who is seeking open and scholarly debate with the leading proponents of Islam. I note that in light of the constant effort on the part of Muslim nations to stifle any and all criticism or rebuttal of Islam, we need to take advantage of our freedoms to engage in honest and scholarly debate while we can. There are many in Muslim nations who wish to use the UN to silence all "blasphemy of the prophet," which, of course, means all disagreement with Muhammad's teachings and claims, and given the fact that many in the West drop to their knees in the attitude of dhimmitude at the first sign that a Muslim might be offended, we are truly in great peril. Of course, the fact that Islam by its very teachings denigrates and denies the Christian faith seems to get lost in the discussion, somehow, so that in essence, what is being promoted by Islamic nations is a silencing of Christians and a granting to Islam of uber-rights to preach without opposition or challenge.
Well, whether the UN tries to silence us or not, we will continue preaching and teaching the truth. And I would like to add my willingness to debate two other gentlemen as well, who I believe, from what I have watched and read, are significantly more familiar with the Christian faith than the three gentlemen noted previously: I would very much enjoy the opportunity to engage in respectful, open, honest debate and dialogue with Islamic scholars Hamza Yusuf and Gary Miller. I have watched or listened to many of Hamza Yusuf's lectures, and have found him a very articulate spokesperson. And Gary Miller's lectures are widely available on YouTube and the web in mp3 format. I have read that Miller is no longer active in such fields, though I have not heard why this is. But since his materials are still being distributed, I am surely open to debate with him.
We have proven, repeatedly, our ability to engage in fair, honest, scholarly debates. I hope these gentlemen will respond positively to our invitation and challenge.