Interacting with Muslim Americans
Can a true Muslim be a good American? How should we interact with Muslims since they are called to convert us or kill us?
The Quran (Islam’s holy book, their “Bible”) contains verses which promote jihad, a holy war which requires Muslims to act violently toward unrepentant non-Muslims. One of many passages which does so is this one: “Now when ye MEET IN BATTLE those who disbelieve, then it is SMITING OF THE NECKS until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the WAR lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And THOSE WHO ARE SLAIN in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain.” (Surah 47:4, emphasis mine). Muslim scholar Abdulla Yusuf Ali wrote a commentary on this passage in which he stated, “When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigour, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves.”
The religion of Islam is similar to Christianity in that its followers each exhibit varying degrees of faithfulness to its commandments. Just as there are “liberal” Christians who hold to a relaxed view of biblical teaching, there are “liberal” Muslims, those who hold a relaxed view of the many teachings of the Quran concerning violence towards non-Muslims and thus are peaceful and kind. Just as there are “conservative” Christians who simply take the Bible for what it says and try to obey all of it, there are also “conservative” Muslims who take the Quran for what it says and try to obey it all, including the passages about violence towards non-Muslims. The “conservative” Muslims are currently represented by ISIS, the 9/11 hijackers, etc. The “liberal” Muslims, generally speaking, are far more likely to be “good Americans” (i.e., abiding by the laws of this country; living peacefully with their fellow Americans.)
Scripture gives several guidelines on how Christians are to interact with Muslims:
- Remember that their souls are precious in the sight of God, so reach out to them with the gospel (John 3:16; Luke 19:10; Mark 16:15).
- Help them see us and our Christ as a loving people who represent a loving God by loving our neighbors and our enemies (1 Cor. 13:4-7; 1 John 4:8; Matt. 22:39; 5:44).
- Our love is primarily shown by sharing the truth with them in love (Eph. 4:15).
- Rather than writing off all Muslims you know as among the “conservative,” violent type, judge each individual Muslim righteously (John 7:24).
- Upon evidence that you’re dealing with a Muslim who is very “conservative” in doctrine (i.e., a violent jihadist), act wisely to protect yourself (Matt. 10:14); cf. Acts 23:12-35).