Thursday, July 14, 2016

Post 44--Muslims and Peace

NOTICE: I also operate a blog called MyWorld--My Neighbour. That's a more general blog than this one. I publish more posts on that one. From here on, all the posts of this blog also appear on that one. That's more than useless repetition. That blog attracts a different kind of reader.  End of notice.
============
Some of my Christian friends try to make me feel guilty and may even consider me a traitor when I say or write anything positive about Muslims or Islam, especially if it is about Muslims and peace. For Muslims, that’s one of the major aspects of their religion and life. That’s what their religion is all about they claim time and again. Of course, peace can mean and does mean different things to different people, different religion and to different ideologies. During the Cold War, both West and East claimed to be promoting peace, while their goals were diametrically opposite to each other. Everyone claims to be for peace, Christians, Muslims, Secularists and all the rest.
It is also true that some Muslims practice terrorism in the pursuit of “peace,”  but this has been true for the West and for Christians as well. I only make this claim without substantiating right now, for that is not the major point of this particular post. I would like to say that this was true of Westerners, including its Christians, only in the past, but the wars and incursions the West has waged over the past few decades in the Middle East under the Bush regimes and in which Obama is still caught can only be described as terrorist, even if they have government sanctions, even international sanctions. Only a few days ago a British report states those wars were not necessary and had no good reasons!  Ach, let me get back to my intended subject for the day.
Muslims and peace.  Muslims against terrorism.  (Before continuing, let me credit Bethany Linsay of Vancouver Sun [VS] for the substance of the rest of this article—July 6, 2016, A10.) That’s the spirit in which BC Muslims are celebrating Ramadan, their annual period of fasting. Ahmed Yousef, President of the Islamic Society of Ridge Meadows makes no bones about it. Ramadan 2016 has been marred by an unusual amount of terrorism and violence by groups such as ISIL and others. In fact, in Yousef’s memory, this has been the bloodiest Ramadan ever. A truck bomb killed 250 people in Baghdad; dozens were killed at the Istanbul airport; 20 hostages were slain in Bangladesh; suicide bombings hit Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi; four met their death in Medina, one of the holiest of all Muslim cities. Yousef calls the perpetrators of all this violence “TB: terrorists and beheaders.”  They are, he says with a voice rising with anger, “a disease, a plague that is taking hold throughout the entire universe. They have no affiliation of any kind to anything.”
This situation has left BC’s Muslims “feeling sad and frightened.”  “It depresses us Muslims, it takes the wind out of our sails.” I’ve looked into the eyes of some of our Muslims “and it’s taken away their spirit,” he says. Yes, those terrorists hit everyone, “Christians, Yazidis, soccer fans, police officers and even members of their own organizations, but Muslims…are the most frequent target.” (Boer comment: The same seems to be true of the Boko Haram [BH] crowd in Nigeria.)  He goes on, “For people who think that these idiots have anything to do with Islam, please consider the fact that most of their victims have been Muslims…. They are thugs, they are criminals, they are mentally unstable individuals who continue to commit these horrid acts under the name of one of the most peaceful and most loving religions that there is out there.” Yousef “feels compelled to speak out and condemns all violence committed in the name of Islam, calling it a responsibility of his faith.”  So far Yousef.
A Vancouver Muslim outreach worker with the Muslim Association of Canada, Tarek Ramadan, says, “Those are trained groups who actually hate (fellow) Muslims or even… claim to be Muslims and to love Allah, but hate what He has brought. They (are) hypocrites who get their stomachs filled with cash, from who knows where, to do these acts in the name of whatever.”  “He’s tired of outspoken politicians and members of the media mixing up terrorist groups and ordinary Muslims.”  Tarek “blames anti-Islam rhetoric from public figures for a reported rise in Islamophobic incidents across Canada that prompted the National Council of Canadian Muslims to launch a campaign against hate crimes this week.” So far, Lindsay’s contribution to this article, with thanks.
The real distortion and perversion in all of this is that ISIL and BH tell themselves they are committing all this heartless violence in the name of peace! Since mainstream Islam has become so heretical and so secular and does not listen to good Islamic reason, there is no alternative to violent methods to force them to return to the fundamentals of the faith. Even they claim to favour peace and are working towards its establishment!  I have heard/read it said quite often that while millions of Muslims agree with the fundamental aims of these terrorists, they reject the methods they follow towards reaching it. I am quite sure that is the case. They want to arrive at their salama in a peaceful, that is, non-violent way, that is physically non-violent way.

Whether that is the case with Yousef or Tarek  Ramadan, only they would know. I am sure they want peace; I just don’t know how they define it and what form they would like to see it take on ultimately and what their approved method of achieving it might be. Yousef is president of his local society. I take it that means he represents their general orientation. The family picture in the VS seems to indicate his is an average Canadian family with nothing to particularly identify them as Muslim. Whether that is a hopeful sign, I do not know. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Post 43-- Neo-Calvinism and Islam

This is a post with a difference. Well, actually every  post is unique, but this one is "more unique" than any other so far on this blog, the only one of its kind. It is an announcement of a conference that lies very close to my heart.  I am one of those Neo-Calvinists and I have published almost profusely as a Neo-Calvinist on Islam in Nigeria. So, I cannot resist the temptation to share this info with you. I only wish I had found out about it in time. I might have foregone our trip to The Netherlands I have told you about in the last two posts and used that travel budget to get me to Istanbul. Alas!  Money gone!

But here's the info anyhow. Perhaps some of you have the dough to fly there and attend. If you do, share your conference experience with me, please. If you wish, you should write it in a style that can be used on this blog and I will publish your report or comments.

                                                                          ===========


                                                        ANOTHER RELIGION? 

                                     Neo-Calvinism and  Islam 

                                                        at

                             Istanbul, Turkey 25-56 August, 2016 

 Theme: At the end of the nineteenth century, military and economic expansion in Africa, the Middle East and Asia brought Europe into contact with Islam. This interaction sparked European political debates on how to deal with different religions and cultures. 

The study of Islam was encouraged within the contexts of missiology and the science of religion, and missionaries were sent to the Arab world. A range of opinions on Islam within emerged within European Christianity, varying from a comparative view to radical rejection, from the need for conversion to the search for dialogue. 

The late nineteenth century was also the context for the development of neo-Calvinism: a movement that attempted to articulate an orthodox Reformed faith in the modern world. Which views of Islam were held amongst neo-Calvinist theologians, missiologists, missionaries and politicians? How did these views work out in the encounter with Islam? 

The conference will focus on the theological, ecclesial, philosophical, political, historical, social and cultural interactions between the two religions: in what ways did they approach each other? On which aspects did they continue to differ, and why? How could their relationship over a century and a half best be described? 

Plenary speakers-- Among others: 
             Prof. George Harinck, Theological University Kampen                    Prof. Kees van der Kooi, VU University Amsterdam 
             Prof. Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary,                               Pasadena 

Call for Papers--The conference organisers welcome proposals for short papers. Proposals (approximately 300 words) should be sent to g.harinck@vu.nl by April 30th, 2016. Conference papers will be in English. 

Registration-- The conference registration fee is €100, which includes two lunches and drinks. Conference places must be reserved by email (g.harinck@vu.nl) by May 30th, 2016. 

Location and Accommodation--  Participants are responsible for finding their own accommodation. 

The conference will be held on invitation of the Deputy Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul at: Palais de Hollande Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Istiklal Caddesi 197, Beyo─člu, Istanbul Turkey 

Host Institutions: 
      Historical Documentation Centre, VU University, Amsterdam         New College, University of Edinburgh 
      Kampen Theological University Archive and Documentation                 Centre, Kampen