Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Post 60--

Nigeria is a country that suffers enormously from inter-religious strife and violence. I have seen it first hand during my 30 years in the country.  I have even written extensively about it in my series Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations. You can find that series at

                      < >--that is my website. 

I've left Nigeria over 20 years ago--can't believe that it's been that long! But through reading I have kept up with that situation. 

Recently, a Nigerian friend whom I respect highly and whom I have quoted much in the above series wrote this on Facebook:

Danjuma Byang:

Someone said there is good in the worst of humans and there is also evil even in the best of them too! It is part of the irony of being made in d image of God but from clay! I hold n teach what u just said here but I was rebuked by a converted Sheikh from Islam who is now a pastor, that if I think a Muslim is good I have been deceived! That his being good is just a 'carrot' to make me relax my defenses. That sooner or later the cobra in him will manifest! So am a little confused. At my age I should know what is good and bad. But I can't ignore the warning from a man who rose to become a Sheikh in the system. I guess what it means is that I should be cautious with what I see when dealing with these people! I return good gestures but don't let down my guards! Nor do I make sweeping generalizations! I think u should do likewise!

What do I say to the above?  Danjuma is right: there is something good and something bad in every person. No one is perfectly good or wholly bad, though some may come close.  But what about that question when it is applied to Muslims?

What do I say to that?  I really don't like to think that way, but what can you say about the wisdom gained from experience?  Ignore it?  Reject it?  Or should I argue that this may be the case in Nigeria but not necessarily in other countries?  

I not only read Christian books written about Muslims, but also Muslim books. Some of the latter address Christians and are meant to attract them to Islam.  But some are also written by Muslims for Muslims. That is to say, to instruct Muslims to be more faithful in their adherence to Islam.  The previous post of this blog is an example.  Should I say that such materials are written simply to hide or cover the real truth?  Are Muslims even writing to fool other Muslims and make the religion seem better than it is?  

My answer to the last few questions is negative.  But if that is the case, then what should be my response to Danjuma's challenge or, even stronger, to that converted Sheikh's challenge?  A senior and now late Nigerian friend of mine, whom I also quote frequently in my series was also a convert from Islam and he made the same claim as the above Sheikh. 

I am always in a kind of state of confusion. That's one reason you may have found that I kind of flip flop throughout this blog. I say this and then turn around to say that.  I will leave it at this.....  

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