Are Islamic Countries Doing Enough To Help Refugees?

Are Islamic Countries Doing Enough To Help Refugees? October 19, 2016

Screenshot 2016-10-19 07.54.24

As we know, the world is facing a refugee crisis.

We see it on the news daily, to the point where many of us in the West are likely desensitized to the scenes of refugee camps, capsized boats, and bodies of children washing up on the shores of neighboring countries.

Globally, there are countless millions of refugees– over 6 million of them are refugees fleeing the war in Syria alone. U.S policy and intervention in the region accomplished what many critics predicted from the beginning: we destabilized the entire area, created inner conflicts within regions, and left a gaping hole that was filled by extremists who continue to inflict chaos and destruction.

So, what to do with the all the refugees we helped create?

When President Obama indicated the United States would take in 10,000 of them, a good chunk of the country flipped their lid. Even some “Christian” leaders such as Franklin Graham have advocated that the United States not take in any of the refugees at all– a position that now represents that of the American right-wing.

Instead of welcoming in the stranger and providing for their needs (you know, Jesus stuff), the retort has been the same over and over again whether by right-wing talking heads, or random commenters on the Internet:

The Islamic countries need to do their fair share, they say.

I’m sure you’ve heard it too. People may phrase it differently, but the words are all the same: they should be helping their own people.

There is an unchallenged, underlying assumption in this position that we need to dispel– an assumption that we are the hospitable ones, that we are the ones who are the most generous, and that we are the ones doing all the work.

The reality is, none of that is true.

As Amnesty International has stated, rich nations like the United States “host the fewest and do the least” when it comes to helping refugees. Sure, we’ve taken in 10,000, but that’s a token amount in the big picture, and conservative Christians resisted that every step of the way.

So, if it’s not the United States or even Europe who is doing the most to help refugees, who is welcoming the most and doing the most?

Predominantly Muslim countries, that’s who.

As reported by Aljazeera, there are just 10 countries who host a majority of the world’s refugees, and the top five on that list are countries which are a majority Muslim:Screenshot 2016-10-19 08.57.50

On top of that list is Jordan, a country I just returned from a few days ago. This was my second invited trip to Jordan, and one of the biggest take-aways I came home with was a deeper appreciation for the generosity and radical hospitality that is so unique to the Muslim world. The gentle kindness I experience when among Muslims is second to none– it’s one of the few places in the world where you can be walking down the street one minute, and sitting as the guest of honor in a stranger’s house the next. Islamic hospitality is truly extraordinary on the global scene.

As we see from the statistics on who is doing the most to help refugees, it’s clear that Islamic hospitality isn’t just something that one finds in the small, day-t0-day experiences when among Muslims; their hospitality is so great that it is reflected in the fact that they are global leaders in setting the example of caring for strangers.

As people who claim to want to follow Jesus, we have a lot to learn from the Christ-like example of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the Middle East who have a long tradition of welcoming in the stranger.

The beautiful, selfless, and generous hospitality of Muslim nations is an example we should all aspire to, if we truly want to make Christians Christ-like again.

So, the next time you hear someone say, “Oh yeah? Well, I’d love to see the Muslim countries help out!” just remind them that Muslim countries are actually the ones who best care for the hungry, the naked, and the homeless, and that we could learn from their example.

unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold.

Keep up to date with BLC! Visit his NEW site!

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  • Paul Schlitz Jr.

    What is interesting is when we invaded Iraq we created a situation where many Iraqis left. The only countries that would take Iraqi refugees in the Middle East was Jordan and Syria.

  • Robert

    umm..,let’s see….
    Could be the reason Muslim countries are taking in more refugees is because the majority of the refugees are Muslim…?
    Don’t quote me now….

  • Matthew

    I’m wondering about the rich gulf states.

  • Matthew

    Muslims show hospitality for sure. I have experienced it myself in Muslim countries and regions.

    That said, some Muslims also slaughter one another.

    Christians show hospitality too, but Christianity doesn’t have an untainted, bloodless history either.

    Germany took in 1 million. The rich gulf states have basically turned a blind eye.

    We simply cannot put all Muslims or all Christians into our tiny little black and white boxes.

  • Paul Schlitz Jr.

    Robert it might have something to do with proximity. From Northern Africa to Indonesia is pretty much Muslim

  • Herm

    As a nation we are an example of the antithesis of Christ-like no matter how much it is preached from each competing pulpit that we are exclusively the true followers and advocates of Christ because we can tout “we are Christian”; got the certificate from God and my parent’s church to prove it. Our constitution was written closer to the objectives of Christ than our actual practice of it suggests to outside nations. We are raised to believe we earned the unmerited grace of God; we are more special than others in the world to God. We are taught from infancy to fight to the death to protect our God, no matter how differently our “God” is portrayed from each pulpit within our nation, rather than trust in God to protect us as Their (Father, only begotten Son and Holy Spirit) born in the Spirit little children. We do not empathetically and compassionately, as a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, reach out and down to lift up our innocent mugged and beaten neighbors and then cover the cost of their healing as Christ would otherwise lead us to do if inheriting eternal life is of any value to us. We are too busily, as a nation, focused inward to protect, at all cost, our relative opulent life style while remaining self terrorized that we may lose it all to actual terror victims invading our land. As a nation the eye of the needle is way too small to consider entering.

    That said, there are many humanitarian efforts of outreach based in the USA that do contribute constructive and productive efforts to raise up and heal our hurting neighbors. Too many of those, although, are motivated by a not so hidden agenda to proselytize others into their exclusive faith based carnally named religion. Too many are willing to help those hurting from afar as long as those victims don’t threaten the donors’ life style in their homes in their nation.

    An actual disciple of Christ must be willing to pick up their own cross, risking all else of worldly value, that a neighborly victim found anywhere in the world might live. When, also, free from the shackles of the traditional teaching of Man, Jesus can and will begin to teach and lead that sibling of God’s, filled by the Holy Spirit, heart and mind eternally. That is the definition of Christian (Christlike/”little Christ”) according to Christ. That would be the picture conveyed to the rest of the world if we, the USA, were truly a majority governed Christian spirited nation. It is not the picture the majority of the rest of the world has of the USA.

    Dr. Ben, you stepped in it by painting a picture to me that Muslim nations may just be more Christlike than the USA. I agree and in my own heart and mind I, additionally, see that the Spirit may easily be at work in and through the hearts and minds of others’ (than on the Christian church’s official authorized list) open hearts and minds no matter the name of the religion they were born into and/or live within today. They, without being clothed and sheltered by the organized Christian religion, demonstrate that they love their neighbor as themselves and that they love the Lord God they know by any name with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their mind irregardless of any religious names and rituals. We, as students of the Messiah, would do better to trust Jesus to be the sole/soul judge of others while opening our hearts and minds to allow Jesus to be our, each of our, sole/soul teacher for direction in how best to serve Man as does God lead for as long a life as we are each uniquely graced (without merit). amen with thanks!

  • richard

    although you are correct in regards to syrian and other middle east refugees, i believe you are neglecting l to account for legal immigration to the USA. whether it be middle eastern (see detroit area)
    vietnamese (see so cal) cambodia, african, indian, russian, mexico, central and south america, or many other countries, i believe this country takes in an abundance of legal immigrants from around the world. more so than any other nation on earth. your article is misleading and does a disservice for what this country does for others.

  • Arlene Adamo

    The United States makes a big mess and then others have to clean it up. Doesn’t seem fair.

  • caelin blevans

    america does give the most to charity, we deserve some props

  • Artistree

    Good points.
    I have extended family, both here in the states, and in Jordan and Syria, who are Palestinian. I can tell you from their first hand perspective that they hold a very dim view of the rich gulf states and their disdain for the poor and displaced Arabs in these war torn lands. See any countries on Ben’s list/graphic who are oddly, but not surprisingly, absent ?

  • Artistree

    By extended family, I have a Muslim “aunt” who is a Syrian refugee who still lives in Syria. She has lost two sons and a grandson in the civil war, and her home. Her family is divided; some supported the secular government and others supported the Islamic rebels who desire an Islamic state. I have seen pictures of the sons she has lost and even a picture of her dead grandson ( of the rebellion) laying on the battlefield.
    Through a member of my extended family, every couple of months, pooling money together with other family members here in the States, we send a fair amount of money to aid this poor Muslim woman as she attempts to be the matriarch of her widowed daughter in laws and many grand children. US dollars go a long ways in Syria, and US Christians should show their love for those in need by finding ways to help them….whether they be Muslim or Christian Syrians or Iraqis.

  • Bones

    Why would anyone want to go to Saudi Arabia which is an openly racist country as well as extremist?

    Most of those rich oil gulf states are…..

  • Bones

    They are openly racist and extremist…..

  • Artistree

    Very true.
    …but we keep sending our money and support to these openly racist and extremist counties.
    It will be interesting to see if the new law over riding President Obama’s veto allowing 911 victim’s families to sue Saudi Arabia goes anywhere…. probably not.

  • Bones

    Unfortunately it’s about oil as well as dominance and influence in the Middle East.

    The problem of course with people suing Saudi Arabia is it opens a whole can of worms where the US can be sued by victims for supporting genocidal governments such as Pinochet and Montt in Guatemala as well as innocents killed via drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • Matthew

    I simply think the article, although partially right, doesn’t tell the whole story — hence the reason for my post. Yes … I noticed the absent countries.

  • Matthew

    Maybe as the U.S. becomes more energy independent we will see changes in regional policy. I think the Obama administration has already changed its posture toward the Saudis somewhat.

  • wolfeevolution


    And fwiw, #10 on the list, Chad, is also a Muslim-majority country.

  • I agree with you that Jordan is to be applauded for “they are global leaders in setting the example of caring for strangers,” taking in many thousands of refugees.

    However, you need to also consider the horrific side–Islam’s punishment of those who disagree with it.

    Consider Jordan’s blasphemy law where recently

  • wolfeevolution

    Changing the subject much?

  • No, I’m pointing out that Islam isn’t a caring religion. I’ve lived in the Middle East.

    It’s true that Islam teaches charity, but it, even, more emphatically teaches harm and killing for those who oppose or deny it.

    I stayed overnight with a Muslim family in Nablus, Palestine. They and the other Muslims were generous, kind toward me,
    but they held to horrific views including the support of killing unarmed civilians, etc.:-(

    For instance, Benjamin wrote, “The gentle kindness I experience when among Muslims is second to none– it’s one of the few places in the world where you can be walking down the street one minute, and sitting as the guest of honor in a stranger’s house the next. Islamic hospitality is truly extraordinary on the global scene.”

    That’s mostly only true of caring for other Muslims, and even then of the right sort of Muslims. Muslims who reject the faith, atheists, etc. not only won’t get this “gentle kindness,” they will often get abuse, persecution, and death:-(

    Check out the Pew statistics on the majority of Muslims who support jihad and support Sharia Law.

    Also, check out the statistics on these “gentle kindness” Muslims who mutilate their little daughters, support ‘honor’ killings, believe in blasphemy laws and that ex-Muslims should be punished.

    Also, I recommend talking with a few Muslim leaders in the U.S. The only one I know who oppose all those evils is a colleague of ours who is a very liberal Muslim, and the Muslim Reform Project, a wonderful group which deny jihad and which support human rights including the right to reject Islam.

    So, as I already said, Jordan is to be commended for showing Islamic hospitality, but Benjamin (and others who emphasize that Islamic virtue) need to also point out that overall, Islam and Muslim countries are committing horrific slaughters, arresting atheists and others for rejecting Islam, deny women their human rights, etc.

  • Cygnus

    I am a political refugee. When I was accepted in the US I was asked if I was member of Communist Party or if I have affinities with any Communist Party. I understood that Communism is dangerous for freedom and democracy.

    But also I understood that US Constitution, while guarantees the freedom of religions, keep church/state separation because religion is also dangerous for freedom and democracy.

    Muslim countries are oppressed by their own religion, Islam is now as Christianity was in the Middle Ages, before Enlightenment, a totalitarian religion in the Middle East. If Muslims are oppressed by their own religion in their own countries, as Islam doesn’t guarantee freedom and democracy, why Muslim should keep active their religion when they ask to be accepted in a secular country as US is.

    It seem fair to help humans but they have to understand that it is their religion that is problematic. It is not fair for Muslim to keep their religion active, they should understand that a religion is freely practiced in a secular state, but should not get mixed in public, government affairs.

  • wolfeevolution

    I can’t play all my cards here in this online forum where I participate semi-anonymously, unfortunately, but I also have deeply personal engagement with a particular area of the Muslim world.

    It’s hard to say what “Islam teaches,” let alone what they teach more or less “emphatically,” when there are many varied interpretations of Islam across more than a billion people in dozens of countries.

    Unfortunately, I think most Americans (kind, peace-loving Christian souls that we are) also support the killing (and let’s not forget torturing!) of unarmed civilians in Muslim-majority regions of the world. Just a little collateral damage, right?

    Do remember that Palestine is an area of the world that has seen much suffering. Their orientation toward the non-Muslim world will be considerably different from that of Muslims in, say, Malaysia.

  • ? Recently I read of Muslims persecuting others in Malaysia, I think.

    I am all too familiar with the U.S. role in the slaughter of millions; I was a radical in the 60’s, belonged to S.D.S., have opposed every war that the U.S. has started in the last 60 years. And I used to teach American literature/history, know about our horrific behavior in the past.

    As for your statement, “It’s hard to say what “Islam teaches..”
    I am going by its official doctrines.

    I have read 4 biographies on Muhammad, studied the Sunni-Shia bloody split, spoken with many Muslims since the early 1970’s, etc.

    All forms of Islam (Except the Muslim Reform Movement and minor mystic groups) are oppressive, harmful, destructive, regressive. One of the cardinal doctrines of Islam is that God wills all evil, is the cause of every natural disaster:-( (Qadar).

    All of that has to be considered negatively in contrast to the Islamic doctrine of charity and the welcoming of strangers.

    As for us in the U.S., I think we ought to be ashamed of how anti-immigration we are behaving!

    I am for the U.S. rescuing at least 200,000 of the refugees. Think of it, Germany has taken in a million, but the U.S. only several thousand.


    But we also need to stop funding the Muslims nations who are funding the horrific war–Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, etc.

    Did you read last month how the U.S. Congress voted to supply Saudi Arabia with billions of dollars of weapons. Yet Saudi Arabia is one of the causes of the slaughter in Syria and Yemen:-(

    Thanks for the dialog.

    I am for individual Muslims as human beings with rights, but not for Islam and its denial of human rights.

    See Wikipedia on Malaysia:

    “Muslims who wish to convert from Islam face severe obstacles. For Muslims, particularly ethnic Malays, the right to leave the Islamic faith and adhere to another religion is a controversial question. The legal process of conversion is also unclear; in practice it is very difficult for Muslims to change their religion legally.”

    “Between April to May 2006, several Hindu temples were demolished by city hall authorities in the country, accompanied by violence against Hindus.[40] On 21 April 2006, the Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur was reduced to rubble after the city hall sent in bulldozers.”

    “The nation maintains two parallel justice systems in the country (see: Courts of Malaysia). One is the secular justice system based upon laws gazetted by Parliament. The other is sharia (syariah, Islamic law). Ostensibly Syariah Courts only have jurisdiction over persons who declare themselves to be Muslims. Consequently, this results in non-Muslims not having legal standing in Syariah Courts.

    Where decisions of the syariah court affect a non-Muslim, he or she can seek recourse in the secular courts which, in theory, overrule the syariah courts as the Syariah courts are limited in their jurisdiction by Article 121 of the Federal constitution. In 2006 a judge ruled that Article 121 limited the federal courts from ruling on matters ruled on by the Syariah court when it touches Islamic matters. This was seen as a misinterpretation of the article by some, and the case is under appeal in the court of appeals.

    The rules of sharia are set by the various sultans of the states. Historically a sultan had absolute authority over the state. Prior to independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman managed to convince the sultans to cede some states’ powers to the federal government. One of the terms of this agreement is that the sultans still are the ultimate authority of Islamic law in their respective states. The same arrangement was long held even during British colonial rule. In Selangor, the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 was signed by the Sultan of Selangor into law forbidding non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”[3][4]

    Constitutionally (in Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia), one of the four tests for entitlement to the privileges accorded to a Malaysian Malay is that one must be a Muslim. The rationale for this is that Islam is considered intrinsic to Malay ethnic identity, which culturally and historically is ruled by a Sultan who is a Muslim. Another test is that one must follow the Malay culture. Controversially, court rulings have assumed that all ethnic Malays must automatically satisfy this constitutional definition of a Malaysian Malay, and have therefore concluded that they must satisfy all of its requirements, so they have to be Muslim.

    On 29 September 2001, the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad declared that the country was an Islamic state (negara Islam). The opposition leader at the time, Lim Kit Siang, is now actively seeking support to declare Mahathir’s move as unconstitutional by repeatedly clarifying that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as its official religion as enshrined in the Constitution. However, the coalition government headed by Mahathir at the time held more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament. A two-thirds majority vote in Parliament is required for constitutional amendments in Malaysia.”

  • Matthew

    I think we have to simply say that we cannot only look at one side of any religions’ history and actions.

  • wolfeevolution

    I’m glad you engaged with a response.

    I think you and I probably agree on a number of points. I don’t deny some of the more difficult elements in many Muslim contexts, or the way that they are interlaced with religious tradition and theology.

    At the same time, I’m not sure that these negative points should be weighed _against_ their charity and hospitality. I think good and bad factors can and should be considered in their own rights. We can praise Muslims and even Islamic contexts without footnoting our comments with all the crap associated with those contexts.

    I would hope they would do the same for us, after all — being able to genuinely praise what they love about American culture without feeling the need to say, “While this is true, they are also founts of pornography, greed, racism, belligerent militarism, and all manner of cultural decay.”

  • wolfeevolution

    Sure we can. In a given blog post, on a limited topic, absolutely we can.

    If the tables were turned, and someone wanted to say something nice about a specific thing Christians do well (for instance, that we tend to treat recovering addicts with grace), it would not be appropriate for me to chime in in the comments section with a criticism that was completely off-topic (say, about misguided Christian anti-trafficking activists, or historic LGBT repression, etc. etc.) just in the interest of giving blog readers a “balanced” perspective. That’s just silly, and rude. Positive points are positive points and they stand on their own.

  • We approach Islam, evidently from very different experiences and studies.

    Islam itself, and Islamic countries engage in horrific behavior and oppressive beliefs, so their showing other Muslim refugees help, while admirable, doesn’t excuse their many main wrong actions.

    Any more than the dictators which the U.S. supported for many years ought to be excused for some good actions.

    I don’t think America ought to receive “praise” without at also being reminded of its wrongs.

    Also, my living in the Middle East (only a mile from one Muslim attack where the Muslim soldiers shot up civilians in an apartment complex) , and reading a lot of Islamic history and doctrinal stuff has probably biased me more strongly against Islam and Muslim countries.

    We have also written for years for prisoners of conscience being persecuted and harmed by Islamic governments.

    And, as I said, my main opposition to Islam is their claim that Allah wills ALL evil and ALL disasters.

    Also, if I hadn’t just last year personally met and dialogged with two American Muslim leaders who defended jihad, the denial of freedom of religion, and even supported their version of the Quranic verse which says for husbands to hit their wives,
    I might be more open toward Islam.

    Some Muslim heretics do have my admiration.

    When Jordan outlaws its blasphemy law, gives equality to all religions and atheism, and equal rights especially to women,
    then I will praise it.

    But thanks for the dialog.

  • What do you mean by “keep their religion active?”

    If you mean Muslims should not take over the US government and replace our government with a Muslim theocracy, I would agree with you, and I would also say that about any religious group.

    If you mean Muslims can’t be practicing Muslims, that’s kind of the point of having a pluralistic, democratized society. That’s like saying we can’t allow Americans to be Buddhist because of Myanmar or be Christian because of Bosnia.

  • What is your source for Islam’s “official doctrines?”

    Like, if you were going to build a case for or against Christian behavior on the grounds of Christianity’s “official doctrines,” where would you possibly get such information? It’s not like there’s some official Christian Doctrine List compiled by the Guys Who Rule Christianity. Christian doctrine, even among its most well-known teachers, is almost ridiculously diverse.

    How could you possibly form a statement about the whole of Islam based on their “official doctrines?”

  • But I am not only looking at Islam and Muslim governments’ actions in history but

    While Jordan is helping refugees–and ought to be thanked–that is at the same time that Jordan, Muslims, and other Islamic governments are slaughtering, oppressing, persecuting, etc.:-(

  • In terms of hard numbers, the US is #1 in taking in immigrants. In terms of per capita, we’re not even in the top 20.

    And taking in immigrants, especially legal ones, is hardly “charity.” We get a huge economic benefit from it.

  • Jennny

    I have never visited Jordan and bow to your superior knowledge Dr Corey, but here in the UK, BBC news recently interviewed some refugees making the harrowing journey across Europe with people smugglers. One young professional syrian couple said they had been in a refugee camp in Jordan for 3 years but this year the government had cut food rations and regular monetary help and conditions were deteriorating. They were not allowed to work so they felt forced to try to get to Europe.

  • “What is your source…”

    All the Muslim leaders’ doctrines that I’ve read over the last 50 years, Islamic history, the Quran (I’m almost done with a second study), the two Muslim leaders I personally spoke with last years after their lectures out here, my having lived in the Middle East, etc.

    See any Muslim site and they will give you long explanations of their doctrines, and explain why other religions (including heretical versions of Islam) are completely wrong.

  • Especially check out the orthodox Islamic belief that the Quran is perfect and eternal.


  • Right, but what you described applies just as easily to Christianity. And you are certainly in no position to interpret the Quran and expect that your reading is authoritative for Muslim teaching.

    Obviously you personally have not experienced uniformity in Muslim teaching, because you said so. You said you personally experienced Muslims saying terrible things against other kinds of Muslims.

    So, once again, obviously, there are no “official doctrines” that you can ascribe to all Muslims except maybe the barest of theological abstractions. I’m not about to deny that there aren’t Muslims with terrible views. Obviously there are. Nor am I trying to deny the atrocities that happen in Muslim countries at the hands of Muslim power-mongers.

    But to say you have a handle on some unified body of teaching to which all Muslims subscribe seems… counterfactual.

  • But not all Muslims believe that.

  • You wrote, “but what you described applies just as easily to Christianity.”

    Huh? Just because Christianity has done so much evil in the world, doesn’t then excuse Islam to also do lots of evil now!

    I’m not interpreting the Quran. I’m not a Muslim scholar, don’t read Arabic.

    I am going with what Muslim scholars claim.

    Read their views for your self. They do claim that Islam has central tenets which you must believe to be a Muslim.

    Also, I was invited to the wedding of a colleague here who converted to Islam. We had discussions on what she had to believe.

    Why does Pakistan have a blasphemy law like Jordan, and other countries if there are no central beliefs everyone must hold?

    Why do most Muslims support Sharia Law, (except the very liberal ones like two of our colleagues here)?

    Why do Sunni and Shia Muslims attack each other in the name of Allah each claiming to have the correct Islamic beliefs?

    It’s all because of their central beliefs of Islam.

  • The only Muslims that I know of who reject the Quran as perfect, reject the central tenets of Islam, who reject punishment of ex-Muslims, who reject qadar, who reject jihad, etc. are liberal Muslims such as the ones we know here and the American Muslim Reform Movement.

    Please give us a url of a Muslim site where the Muslim leaders reject the central tenets of Islam and I will check it out.

    I do strongly support the Muslim Reform Movement.

    Also, please read a few books such as Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    If Muslims are so peaceful and caring, why does she have to have bodyguards to protect her in the U.S.?

    Why has a Pakistani woman been separated from her girls and husband for 10 years, accused of “blasphemy”?

  • It’s because of their beliefs, yes. But the issue is whether or not we can say that their beliefs are “the official beliefs of Islam.”

    Let me put it like this –

    I have been a Christian my whole life. I am an American, I am a white guy, and I am Protestant and always have been. I am in every way the epitome of the WASP. I can translate the Bible from its original languages. I majored in Biblical Studies. I have read countless books on Christian theology, exegesis, and church history.

    I don’t think I could post a list of ten things that represent “official Christian belief.” This is not due to a lack familiarity with Christianity, but rather the realization that Christianity as it exists on the ground is ludicrously diverse, and not just theologically, but politically and practically.

    Some Christians, on the basis of their beliefs, would like to impound or expel Muslim Americans. Some, on the basis of their beliefs, think this would be an atrocity. Some Christians once argued that being pro-slavery was the only acceptable orthodox Christian position that took the Bible seriously, while others argued that the same Bible made slavery untenable in a moral society.

    It would be the height of arrogance and also fundamentally mistaken to think that I would be in a position to tell you what “official Christian belief” is, and I am a Christian and always have been.

    You are not a Muslim. You know some Muslims and have read a lot about Islam. You have presented compelling evidence that Muslims disagree strongly on various issues. Yet, you also somehow claim that your personal studies and relationships have enabled you to produce a body of doctrines to which all Muslims subscribe and by which they can be evaluated.

    That just sounds astoundingly unlikely to me.

  • Well, let’s take the concept of jihad.

    Some Muslims believe jihad is meant to be a literal conquest of non-Muslim peoples. Some Muslims believe jihad is a personal and societal struggle against evil. Some Muslims don’t give a rats’ about any concept of jihad.

    Which one is the official Muslim belief, and how would you justify that claim?

  • No, that isn’t what I said. I already said that I know one liberal Muslim colleague who don’t believe the central tenets of Islam, and I already explained
    that Sunni and Shia disagree on doctrines and kill each other over them. It’s happening right now in Syria–over 300,000 to 400,000 slaughtered.

    And those central groups of Islam (Sunni and Shia) both hate minor heretical sects of Islam and persecute and kill them.

    But as far as I know even the Sunni and Shia agree with qadar, agree that Muhammad had a right to behead 500 Jewish men and sell their wives an children into slavery and they agree that the Quran is perfect, and they agree that Muhammad is the last prophet of Allah.

    Here’s from an Islamic site:

    ” It is difficult to limit all of Islam into a few core values. Nevertheless, the most important beliefs and religious practices were identified by Prophet Muhammad himself. Thus, there is general agreement on them among all Muslims. It provides an interesting comparison since modern Jews and Christians do not have similar uniformity in their belief systems. Christians, for example, have numerous creeds[1] and Jews do not have any agreed upon beliefs. Modern Jews mostly agree over the 613 commandments that Maimonides, a Jewish rabbi from Muslim Spain, recorded and classified in the 12th century.

    Additionally, Muslim scholars, past and present, have also identified and in certain cases agreed on the core teachings of the Quran, of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and the ‘essentials’ of Islamic Law (Shariah).

    Core Islamic Beliefs: Six Articles of Faith
    More than a billion Muslims share a common set of fundamental beliefs that are described as “Articles of Faith.” These articles of faith form the foundation of Islamic belief system.

    1. Belief in One God: The most important teaching of Islam is that only God is to be served and worshipped. Also, the biggest sin in Islam is to worship other beings with God. In fact, Muslims believe that it is the only sin that God does not forgive if a person dies before repenting from it.

    2. Belief in Angels: God created unseen beings called angels who work tirelessly to administer His kingdom in full obedience. The angels surround us at all times, each has a duty; some record our words and deeds.

    3. Belief in Prophets of God: Muslims believe that God communicates His guidance through human prophets sent to every nation. These prophets start with Adam and include Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them. The main message of all the prophets has always been that there is only One true God and He alone is worthy of being supplicated to and worshipped.

    4. Belief in Revealed Books of God: Muslims believe that God revealed His wisdom and instructions through ‘books’ to some of the prophets like the Psalms, Torah, and the Gospel. Over time, however, the original teachings of these books got distorted or lost. Muslims believe the Quran is God’s final revelation revealed to Prophet Muhammad and has been fully preserved.

    5. Belief in Day of Judgment: The life of this world and all that is in it will come to an end on an appointed day. At that time, every person will be raised from the dead. God will judge each person individually, according to his faith and his good and bad actions. God will show mercy and fairness in judgment. According to Islamic teachings, those who believe in God and perform good deeds will be eternally rewarded in Heaven. Those who reject faith in God will be eternally punished in the fire of Hell.

    6. Belief in Destiny and Divine Decree: Muslims believe that since God is the Sustainer of all life, nothing happens except by His Will and with His full knowledge. This belief does not contradict the idea of free will. God does not force us, our choices are known to God beforehand because His knowledge is complete. This recognition helps the believer through difficulties and hardships.

    Core Religious Practice of Islam: The Five “Pillars” of Islam
    In Islam, worship is part of daily life and is not limited to mere rituals. The formal acts of worship are known as the five “pillars” of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage.

    1. Declaration of Faith: The “Declaration of Faith” is the statement, “La ilaha illa Allah wa Muhammad Rasul-ullah”, meaning “There is no deity worthy of being worship except God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God”). The Declaration of Faith is more than just a statement; it must be shown with one’s actions. To convert to the faith of Islam, a person has to say this statement.

    2. Daily Prayer: Prayer is a method by which a Muslim connects to God and gathers spiritual strength and peace of mind. Muslims perform five formal prayers a day.

    3. Zakah: A type of charity. Muslims recognize that all wealth is a blessing from God, and certain responsibilities are required in return. In Islam, it is the duty of the wealthy to help the poor and needy.

    4. Fast of Ramadan: Once each year, Muslims are commanded to fast for an entire month from dawn to sunset. The period of intense spiritual devotion is known as the fast of Ramadan in which no food, drink and sex is allowed during the fast. After sunset one can enjoy these things. During this month Muslims practice self-control and focus on prayers and devotion. During the fast, Muslims learn to sympathize with those in the world who have little to eat.

    5. The Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca: Every Muslim strives to make once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the sacred sites in Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia. It is the most intense spiritual experience for a Muslim. Typically, 2-3 million perform hajj every year.

    Core of the Quran: Surah (Chapter) al-Fatihah
    Scholars consider Surah al-Fatihah, the first chapter of the Quran, to be the core of the Quran. It is recited in every formal prayer in the Arabic language. The translation follows:

    “I begin with the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are for God, the Lord of the worlds. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help. Guide us to the Straight Path (of Islam), the path of those You have blessed, not the path of those who have incurred Your wrath nor of those who have gone astray.”

    To listen the recitation of Surah al-Fatiha click here

    Core Teachings of Prophet Muhammad
    Classical scholars of Islam have condensed the teachings of Prophet Muhammad into a few statements. These comprehensive statements touch every aspect of our lives. Some of them are:

    1) Actions are judged by the intention behind them.

    2) God is Pure and does not accept anything unless it is pure and God has commanded the faithful with what He commanded the prophets.

    3) Part of a person’s good observance of Islam is to leave aside what does not concern him.

    4) A person cannot be a complete believer unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.

    5) One should not harm himself or others.

    6) Don’t let your focus in this life be to amass worldly gain and God will love you. Don’t be concerned with what people have, and they will love you.

    Core of Islamic Law or Shariah
    The core of Islamic Law is preservation of:

    1) Religion

    2) Life

    3) Family

    4) Mind

    5) Wealth

    6) Some contemporary scholars suggest either justice or liberty to be the sixth category.

    In the vision of Islam, they are known as “essentials” because they are considered essential to human welfare.

    In conclude, if someone were to ask, what is the core of Islam in the fewest possible words, the answer would be, “it is within the word Islam itself: to serve, worship, and lovingly submit to God.”

    Please, also, check out many other Muslim sites that will explain these central beliefs.

  • You wrote, “I don’t think I could post a list of ten things that represent “official Christian belief.”

    Oh, but Christian leaders do that all the time. Recently a fairly well known Christian theologian told me personally that I was never a Christian during my 55 years, because I have always rejected the creeds of Christianity.

    Another one told me that my particular brand of Christianity was an “aberration.”

    But at least in the U.S. those Christian leaders and the government can’t arrest me for blasphemy, persecute, abuse, or kill me like in the vast majority of Islamic countries.

    Then you wrote, “Yet, you also somehow claim that your personal studies and relationships have enabled you to produce a body of doctrines to which all Muslims.”

    On the contrary, it was Muslim leaders themselves who declared these body of doctrines, not me!

    Please talk with the Muslim scholar who I recently spoke with who has a PhD in Islamic studies.

    I am an observer, not a scholar of Islam. I haven’t produced “a body of doctrines to which all Muslims” must believe.

    Millions of Muslims scholars around the world and in history have done that.

    Please read them.

  • So, here is a paper called “An Introduction to Christian Theology” produced by the Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life as distributed by Boston College – an American Catholic university:

    It was written by a group of Christian scholars who cite several theological works written by other Christian theologians both contemporary and historical.

    Here is an article written by a Christian PhD and pastor who belongs to a Charismatic and Protestant branch of Christianity where he outlines the doctrines of the historical Christian church and argues that his denomination is the only one that holds to all these doctrines, while all other modern Christians reject them:

    Both of these documents vary widely on important doctrinal points. Both were written by scholars. I disagree with various points in both documents and I know entire denominations who would as well.

    So, which ones of us represent official Christian doctrine?

  • I am not a Christian.

    But you can find what the vast majority of Christians believe by checking out the creeds of the Christian church.

  • But they disagree. Which Muslim scholars are teaching the real official doctrines that you’re familiar with?

  • wolfeevolution

    We’re likely to have to agree to disagree here.

    For what it’s worth, I lived less than 1,000′ from a recent major terrorist attack with scores of hostages and quite a few dead. (It hit a place I frequented and could easily have been there with my kids.) I lived for multiple years in another Muslim-majority city where the last couple of years has seen at least three terrorist attacks. In my work, I work with Muslims every single day, and they’re not American Muslims.

    To the point: I think your insistence on derailing the topic of the blog by bringing up everybody’s dirty laundry is in poor taste, and I think it’s not very charitable of you. Obviously you’ll disagree with my assessment.

    If your main opposition to Islam is their fatalism, I hope you oppose John Piper as vigorously.

    Again, I’m not denying any of the negatives you’ve cited (really, I hope you hear that). There are real problems and they need addressing. But you’re saying that these folks need to answer for all their evils in order for you to grant that they’ve done some good. I’m saying that you need to prove your comments are even relevant, before I grant that what you’re saying detracts from the good things Ben is pointing out.

    Have a good day.

  • I oppose John Piper and Augustinian-Calvinism even more than Islam. I spent 55 years of my life opposing that sort of belief.

    As for your statement of me “bringing up everybody’s dirty laundry is in poor taste.”

    I think it is much more horrific than “dirty laundry” —
    the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians by opposing sides of Islam:-(

    Islamic qadar, Sharia Law, female mutilation of little girls, honor killings, etc.
    are FAR worse than “dirty laundry.”

    Then you wrote: “But you’re saying that these folks need to answer for all their evils in order for you to grant that they’ve done some good.”

    On the contrary, I didn’t say that.

    What I said is this (see my first comment):

    [I agree with you that Jordan is to be applauded for “they are global leaders in setting the example of caring for strangers,” taking in many thousands of refugees.

    However, you need to also consider the horrific side–Islam’s punishment of those who disagree with it.

    Consider Jordan’s blasphemy law where recently
    • Edit• Reply•Share ›

  • But the creeds differ and were changed in response to various theological controversies, and many Christians today have issues with those creeds, some Christians say creeds of any kind are actually heretical, and some Christians have no idea the creeds even exists.

    Yet, you are telling me that the early creeds define official Christianity for all Christians?

    Here, let’s look at your Muslim scholars:

    This site – the “Islamic Supreme Council of America” – says that only one aspect of jihad is ever violent, and that only to defend Muslims, not engage in holy war:

    Here is a page from a Muslim apologetics site that actually challenges the reader to find anything in Muslim historical documents or teachings that explains jihad as a holy war:

    Here is a paper by a Muslim scholar published by the Islamic Propagation Organization that not only defines jihad as a holy war, but justifies it from the Quran:

    Which one of these is official Muslim teaching, and why are the others not official Muslim teaching?

  • wolfeevolution

    Sounds like we at least agree on Calvinism. :)

    Again, I’m well aware of the noxious practices found in these contexts. I don’t intend to minimize them. I just still don’t understand how they’re relevant to a conversation where these cultures’ positive points are being discussed. I certainly hope that others don’t address me in that manner — interrupting those few who would praise me in order to shine a spotlight on all the worst things I’ve ever done. Sure, I’ve never committed FGM, but I’ve done some pretty horrific things all the same.

    Lord, have mercy.

  • Have these scholars condemned Muhammad for beheading at least 500 Jewish men?

    Have they condemned HAMAS, etc. for killing civilians?

    Probably not, but I will read their sites.

    Furthermore, I already know that jihad is interpreted as spiritual as well as physical in Islam.

    Check out the great Islamic book on the nonviolent Muslim leader Badshah Khan.

    That wasn’t my original point.

    Actually, if you look back it was about blasphemy laws in Jordan, etc.

  • But Jordan, Pakistan, etc. are arresting people for blasphemy! They are denying women, atheists, etc. their rights.

    Worst of all, Muslim leaders in the Muslim world are supporting, funding, and causing the slaughter in Syria.

    That’s what concerns me most. The killing of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenites, etc. by Muslims:-(

    I already stated “that Jordan is to be applauded…taking in many thousands of refugees..”

  • I’m not sure you’re following.

    My point isn’t trying to figure out what “true Islamic doctrine” is on any given particular point. My point is that neither you nor anyone else is in a position to say “this is true Islamic doctrine” and then whatever follows from that.

    Muslim scholars have a wide variety of views on religion and politics, and your rank and file Muslims have an even greater diversity.

    I remember what your main point was, and if you’d stayed there, it wouldn’t have been so bad.

    Your main point was that some of the Muslim countries taking in refugees also violate human rights in other ways. Very true. I’m not sure how that’s relevant to Ben’s article, but it’s a fair point.

    But then you went on to say that you could evaluate Islam’s stance toward human rights based on “official Islam teaching.” That’s the part I take issue with, which is important because a lot of American anti-Islam sentiment is based on the notion that Western white people have the ability to discern what “true Muslim beliefs” are and adjudicate Islam as a whole by that standard. Muslims can’t even dictate what “true Muslim beliefs” are, much less outside observers.

    The idea that you, Dan Wilcox, have a knowledge of core Muslim beliefs that can be virtually universally applied to Islam just seems incredibly implausible to me. If true, you should probably head over to the Middle East, because it appears as though some of them have varying ideas on what core Muslim belief is and you could really help them out.

  • richard

    I beg to differ as to it not being charity for our government to allow immigrants. Most if not all desire to come here as this is a great place to live and work. Yes, they give back, and not just economically – in many ways we benefit from their presence. But many countries have vastly different policies when it comes to immigration, which many people would call restrictive or even oppressive.
    And as far as numbers go, I didn’t even mention the 12 million plus illegal immigrants in our country that we are not strongly attempting to return to their original country of origin.
    My point to Benjamin’s article was that I feel it was a disservice to what this country does do, which I feel he neglected to mention. Only the negative, neglecting the positive.

  • No thanks, I already lived there:-(

    Furthermore, what you are talking about has nothing to do with what I said.

    It is a fact that “official Islam teaching” is the basis for blasphemy laws, Sharia Law, denial of human rights and women’s rights, etc. in most Muslim countries.

    This has nothing to do with your last statement about me personally.

    As I already showed you, from just one Muslim site (I could go on for days giving you more Muslims books and sites)
    Islam does have certain core beliefs.

    Rejection of those beliefs by former Muslims, heretical Muslims, liberal Muslims, atheists, etc, often get them imprisoned and killed by Muslim leaders with the support of millions of Muslims.

    That is the fact.

    And it has nothing to do with me, or my finite knowledge,
    with the actual statements and actions of Muslims themselves!

  • wolfeevolution

    I just don’t know why this conversation is happening at all.

    Your insistence on undermining the positive (which you concede, even!) by bringing up the negative reminds me of a spouse who has been harping on her husband’s worst foibles for so long and so myopically that she can’t let anyone praise him publicly without muttering half-under her breath, “Yeah, but you’ve never *lived* with the man.” Well, quite possibly so, but everybody’s human, and it’s okay to praise someone’s positive points from time to time.

    There’s a time and a place to talk about blasphemy laws and the funding of slaughter. (Maybe on your own blog?) I’m not sure that a blog post talking about hospitality for refugees is that place.

    Feel free to have the last word, if you like.

  • Well, by that definition of charity, then every employer is being charitable when they hire someone. I don’t know that I would equate that with taking in refugees.

    I understand that we could argue that America does good stuff, but the point of the article was to establish that Muslim countries take in refugees -over and against- some American rhetoric that they don’t. I don’t know why there’s a need to also say, “And while we’re talking about other countries taking in refugees, I’d like to take a moment and mention that the USA contributes lots of money and manpower to humanitarian aid in countries that have experienced natural disasters.” However true that might be, that’s not really the point.

    But, yes, America does good things, too. Point taken.

  • And as I just showed you from MULTIPLE Muslim sites, those “core beliefs” are understood in very different ways broadly across Muslims both lay and scholar.

    That’s the problem. You can’t say, “This showed up on Muslim website X, so this must be what all Muslims believe” anymore than you could do that with a Christian website.

    Sure, in Country X, there are Muslims in power who will do terrible things to someone who speaks against Doctrine Y. That does not in the slightest make Doctrine Y a “core Muslim belief.” In the sixth century, Christians killed other Christians for asserting that Jesus has two wills and not one will. Does that mean Jesus having one will is a “core Christian belief?”

    Now, if you want to say, “Jordan is ruled by a class of Muslims that define Islam a certain way, and anyone who disagrees with their interpretation is subject to imprisonment or death, and they believe this makes them faithful Muslims,” that’s a perfectly sustainable statement, and if that’s what you mean, then you should probably just be careful about how you use absolute language.

    But you seem to be making the case that there’s this core of Muslim beliefs that everyone agrees with, and this is the basis for human rights atrocities in Muslim countries. That is not a fact; that barely makes sense, especially when you follow up with all the groups of ACTUAL MUSLIMS who fall afoul of these laws.

  • Guy Norred


  • Bones

    I know plenty who oppose them over here. Including the senor lecturer in Islamic law at one of our universities.

    Maybe you need to get out more.

    Ffs do we see Christians providing aid to Muslims or whinging about the brown people.

  • Bones

    I’m a Christian and the Christian creeds are bogus.

    Besides which one: Apostles Creed, NiceNE, Athanasius, Westminster confession, The articles of fundamentalism, Calvinism

  • Bones

    Did Muhammad (pbuh) kill 800 Jews of Banu Quraiza? Dr. Shabir Ally answers Jay Smith


    I thought as a scholar on Islam you would be aware of how later sira and hadiths aren’t seen as authentic or dependable.

    Btw have you condemned Israel for killing civilians and for it’s occupation?

  • Bones

    Well according to you a Muslim heretic is one who isn’t going around beheading people or beating their wives…..

    Which would be like nearly all of them…..

    Just on wife beating

    Wife beating is not allowed in Islam in any case!

  • Cygnus

    I have nothing about Muslim practicing Muslimism freely in their mosques, as Catholics practice their Catholicism in their churches, or Jews practice their Judaism in their synagogues. as drinkers drink their alcoholic beverages in restaurant or in their houses, etc

    Yes, by active religion I mean what Christians do when they disregard the Constitution in regard to church/state separation, and try to bring back Christian totalitarianism. Yes, we don’t want Muslim totalitarianism as Muslims are used with in their religious countries.

    Recently I’ve read and article in a Muslim blog where they wanted that their votes to be begged by the presidential candidates. Apparently, the Muslims in the US still don’t understand that a secular state, in political terms, guarantees freedom of religion and from religion, unlike religious states.

  • Bones

    You mean like way Trump grovels to right wing Christians???

  • Mike

    You make the all-too common mistake in believing that Islam is a monolithic religion. There are many different sects within Islam, some of which have been warring with each other for over 1,000 years. And it is utterly unfair (not to mention unconstitutional) to demand that a moderate Muslim who has nothing in common with the Islamic radicals to practice their religion behind closed doors after coming to America.

  • Helen4Yemen

    HUH? You suddenly jumped to a different topic! You have a serious grudge and hatred towards Muslims, no doubt. I was so pleasantly surprised to read the article, so rare these days for anyone to have positive comments on Islam but here was someone who paragraph after paragraph had so many words of appreciation of Muslims. It is so rare, I tell you. And what a disappointment to arrive at your comment which not only wanted to negate what the author of the article said, but you wanted to take the discussion in a totally different direction: from Muslim countries receiving and assisting refugees – to how Islam punishes those who do disagree with it. HUH? What a sudden jump! I am from the ME region and I can tell you that you are writing like someone with little or no knowledge of Muslims. Your comment is driven by festering and unrelenting hate of Islam and Muslim.

  • Helen4Yemen

    {That’s mostly only true of caring for other Muslims, and even then of the right sort of Muslims.}
    100% false! Your hatred is so deep that no matter how much truth about the generosity of Muslims you have come to know directly or indirectly, you will always find away to lie about it and instead attempt to make Muslims look as bad as you can make them. Arab hospitality is known throughout the world. What the author described happens to be true! You say you lived in the M/E? Can you tell us where and if you have had any contact with the natives? If you did, you can only walk away amazed at the incredible hospitality of the Arab peoples. Did you not receive any of that most amazing hospitality? Did the Arabs perhaps sense all that hatred you have stored for them inside of you?

  • Helen4Yemen

    {Muslims who mutilate their little daughters,}

    The problem is that people who speak with so much ignorance like you is what is causing hatred and strife in the world. Did you know that FGM is an African tradition and not Islamic? Why don’t you look at the picture of the link I am providing and give me a list of the countries that practice it at very high levels. Do you know that so many of the Arab countries do not even practice it?

  • Helen4Yemen
  • Helen4Yemen

    {Do remember that Palestine is an area of the world that has seen much suffering. Their orientation toward the non-Muslim world will be considerably different from that of Muslims in, say, Malaysia.}

    Can you please kindly elaborate?

  • Helen4Yemen

    { One of the cardinal doctrines of Islam is that God wills all evil, is the cause of every natural disaster:-( (Qadar).}

    HUH? I have no time to read your mile-long text of Islam hate, but what do you mean by what I have quoted?

  • Helen4Yemen

    Ayaan Hirsi is the most favored x-Muslim for Zionists.

    Let me share a secret with you: The Koran is taught in Arabic, right? If you were to do a survey of the mostly non-Arabic Muslim countries in the world, none of their peoples had ever touched the Koran. They have no need for it, because they cannot read Arabic. And Ayaan Hirsi is one of them. But she suddenly made herself an expert of a religion that she knew so little about as a non-Arabic speaking Somali. She had her scheme perfectly planned: speak very bad of Islam and glorify Judaism. There, there, who better than an X-Muslim who would know so much about Islam to malign Islam. What she came to learn of Islam is after her arrival in Europe and America and reading the English translations.

  • Helen4Yemen

    {No, I’m pointing out that Islam isn’t a caring religion. I’ve lived in the Middle East.}

    Perfect! Now tell us how you were treated there and give us a list of the uncaring things that Muslims did to you? Waiting for a list …

  • Helen4Yemen


  • Helen4Yemen


  • Helen4Yemen

    {All the Muslim leaders’ doctrines that I’ve read over the last 50 years}

    HUH? Who are those? Got names?

  • Helen4Yemen

    Listen: Is commenting what you do for a living: spreading hatred of Islam? You mentioned the Sunni-Shia strife? But if you remember, before America performed its ‘shock and awe’ on Iraq and destroyed a very strong and dynamic country, there were hardly any killings of the two Islamic sects. America removed a Sunni leader and replaced him with a Shia one, which meant that the Shia of Iraq had aligned themselves with the destroyer of their country as long as that foreign country promised to hand over power to them after Iraq was demolished. This is the root cause of the sectarian conflict in Iraq and beyond. I have no doubt in my mind that your hatred of Islam is driven by your Zionist ideology and I still recommend that you read ODED YINON and learn about why Muslims are killing each other.

  • Helen4Yemen

    You are not a Christian? Are you by any chance a Jew? Many Jews have goy-sounding names as their user ID online intentionally chosen for a purpose.

  • Helen4Yemen

    __ Middleeasteye: How Islamist rebels engineered Israel’s oil grab in Syria
    __ WSWS: Israel’s covert involvement in Syria conflict to escalate
    __ The National: Israel’s exploitation of the Syrian war is laid bare
    __ The Independent: Syria civil war: Assad regime accuses Israel of being ‘al-Qaeda’s air force’ as conflict edges closer to shared border

  • Helen4Yemen

    {I just don’t know why this conversation is happening at all}

    I have no doubt in my mind that he is a Zionist and he believes that the more Muslims are hated, the safer the European colonizers of Palestine feel. Notice how very long almost all his comments are – who has time to spend reading so much text?

  • Helen4Yemen

    {Have these scholars condemned Muhammad for beheading at least 500 Jewish men?}

    I knew it! Why did you choose a goy name as your user id?

  • Helen4Yemen

    {Have they condemned HAMAS, etc. for killing civilians?}

    I knew it! Why did you choose a goy name as your id?
    Why pretend to be a non-Jew?

  • Helen4Yemen

    {Badshah Khan.}

    Who? You have done extensive search for anything negative on Islam. Your people should be very proud of you. Shalom!

  • Helen4Yemen

    {No thanks, I already lived there:-( }

    Ah, that bad, huh?

  • Matthew

    Hello Phil.

    Might Romans 10:9 help us here?

  • Matthew

    Fair enough.

    My main point was to only call out the gulf states (which are Muslim countries) for not doing their fair share of taking in immigrants/migrants/refugees, and to point out that while Muslims are often extremely hospitable some are also not focused on human rights at all. I also wanted to point out the hospitable nature of Christians, but also not let them them off the hook for their tainted history.

    Finally … I tend to think that the comment section is the most appropriate place to offer criticism that lends itself to balance. I learn so much from this particular comment section — often times more than I learn in the actual blog post. The comments often shed light in places that the blog post/article leaves in the dark.

  • Matthew

    I tend to agree with you Daniel Wilcox. My point was to simply round out the discussion by pointing to more facets of two major world religions.

  • wolfeevolution

    Daniel is not the first person I’ve met who generalizes about all Muslims because of an experience lived in Israel or Palestine.

    If you are subjected to brutally unjust oppression, invasion of your land, restriction of your movement and resources, generally prejudicial treatment, losing family members and friends, etc., it’s only natural that you are likely to develop a hatred of your oppressors and their allies. It’s a very visceral thing in Palestine, just as it was for the psalmist who (some centuries before Christ) wished that invading forces would experience the pain of their own kids’ heads being bashed against rocks just like Israeli children had been in that conflict (Psalm 137:9).

    Even in places like Palestine, I have no doubt the local populace is over-the-top welcoming. But you have folks like Daniel or at least one of my other friends who visit and (in the course of being welcomed fantastically well) they hear some of the bitterness that Palestinians express toward their oppressors (and allies) and they think, “Woah, these guys are so full of hate.” Well, of course, (some) Palestinians are. Wouldn’t you be?

    But even if they are, it’s not right to use that same brush to paint Muslim areas that have not known as intimately or recently the sting of occupying forces. Most Muslim lands knew some form of colonization at one time or another, but in this generation they have complex relationships with the West and other actors and do not generally harbor the kind of deeply personal resentment that Palestinians (all too naturally) may. I mentioned Malaysia because the Islam in SE Asia is generally considered to be fairly moderate, though I haven’t personally lived there.

    I realize the way I stated that was pretty vague and not well explained. I hope this clarifies somewhat.

  • wolfeevolution

    I don’t know if he’s a Zionist or not. Lots of Americans are full of Islamophobic hate without necessarily being Zionists. Unfortunately, “Islamophobia, Inc.” is a billion-dollar industry with its tentacles all over American culture, and its full-time job is to repeat half-truths and untruths about Islam in order to make sure our people have just enough bloodlust to keep buying billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment in the service of wars we don’t need to fight and can’t afford.

  • Joe B

    Very good read, one of the best thought out and well stated responses to the article.
    I often hear people concerned about what other religions might do to our country, but I often fear what my country might have done to my religion.
    We Americans, very often confuse patriotism for religion. and many wrongly believe that being conservative equates to being Christian.
    I have been pondering lately what this country could look like if Christians let go of the fear of others, and began trusting in God again. If we are truly trusting in our Lord, we should do as he instructs without the fear of the results, we should welcome the stranger, we should feed the hungry, and clothe the naked.
    We are all too often more concerned with our earthly security, and spoiled rotten privilege, than we are with our true calling to Love our neighbors.

  • wolfeevolution

    Hi Helen,

    As you’ve seen, I’m sympathetic to your anti-Islamophobic approach. I myself try my hardest to advocate against American Islamophobia.

    With that in mind: I don’t think that citing Oded Yinon is helping your cause, frankly.

    I did what you asked, and Googled it, and one of the top things Googled alongside it is the word “debunk.”

    If you want to criticize Israel, that’s great, and Ben has been an outspoken critic of Israel on this very blog, so you’ll find plenty of sympathizers here. But frankly, discussions surrounding Oded Yinon look like so much conspiratorial theorizing, from the couple of articles I read (on both sides). I would encourage you to steer clear of them if you want people to hear you out.

    Peace to you.

    P.S. Bear in mind in this dialogue, if it continues: I myself do not identify as a “Zionist.” I remain pretty agnostic on Israel-Palestine issues, because I haven’t had time to read much about it over the years, being focused on other areas of the world, though I generally lean in the direction of being sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians. I have both Jewish and Muslim friends.

  • Matthew

    What makes one a Christian, Bones?

  • wolfeevolution

    Careful: You’re sounding an awful lot like a racist here.

    Mind you, I’m not comfortable with the phenomenon of ex-Muslims’ stories being used by Islamophobia, Inc. any more than you are, but what does her mother tongue have to do with it, and why would you paint with such a broad brush all non-Arab Muslims?

    I can tell you as a fact that if you did a survey of the mostly non-Arabic Muslim countries of the world, many of them *have* touched the Qur’an. It’s true, some of them do not understand what they are reading, but many others do because they have made enormous efforts (more than many Arabic speakers, no doubt) to learn a whole new language in order to understand it. But whether they understand it or not, as faithful Muslims they certainly “have need of it” because they believe it is the very words of God.

    This is the sort of thinking that is used to justify genocide in Darfur, because, meh, they’re not real Muslims anyway. You don’t need to make use of that sort of filthy, racist thinking in order to make your point effectively. Please drop it.

  • wolfeevolution

    Shouting turns people off to the points you’re making. Just fyi.

  • It might if we all had the same interpretation of Romans 10:9.

  • Ok, then yes, I agree with you. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Matthew

    What then, in your estimation, makes someone a Christian? There has to be something we can all agree on … no?

  • ?
    No, I have a serious hatred of a religion which has caused the death of hundreds of thousands in Syria, various branches of the Islamic religion slaughtering precious human beings.

    I have a serious hatred of a religion which persecutes, is intolerant, abuses, and kills ex-Muslims, atheists, and those of other worldviews, etc in various Muslim countries around the globe.

    I have a serious hatred of a religion which claims that God (qadar–read what Muslim leaders state that means) wills for all evil actions and for all natural disasters!


    No, (to answer another of your questions) I am not Jewish, nor am I a Zionist by any stretch of the imagination.

    In fact since 1974, I’ve supported the rights of the Palestinian people.

    I oppose the Israeli government’s denial of Palestinians their rights, the government’s destroying their orchards, etc.

    And I oppose Palestinian leaders when they applaud the intentional killing of Jewish civilians including the stabbing to death of a 13-year-old Jewish girl! Read what HAMAS and Fatah wrote about these murderers. ETC.

    As for hating individual Muslims, how absurd. I’ve worked with them, been personally invited to her Islamic wedding by a good colleague when she got married, been a guest of a Muslim family in Nablus, Palestine, and supported two Muslim families who needed financial help, etc.

    Furthermore, I’ve repeatedly emphasized in the last few months that I think the U.S. needs to take in at LEAST 200,000 of the refugees from Syria.

    The U.S. rejection of refugees is shameful.

    Lastly, you wrote, “Your comment is driven by festering and unrelenting hate of Islam.”

    That is certainly true. My wife and I have written human rights letters for innocent individuals wrongfully imprisoned by Islamic governments for many years.

    I’ve read about the horrific slaughter of Muslims against Muslims in the name of Allah in various countries for at least 50 years.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Ok, lesson learned – thank you.

  • Oh, I could easily tell you what I think about Romans 10:9 or what I think defines a Christian (something along the lines of a belief in what Israel’s God has done in Jesus to save his people and a commitment to being a faithful incarnation of his new creation people in the world – a project of which Jesus is our clearest example and currently takes the form of a decentralized “kingdom” with Jesus being the king).

    But there are others who would say that someone is only a Christian if they’ve prayed a certain prayer and/or been baptized. Others would say someone is only a Christian if they belonged to a particular church. Others would say someone is only a Christian if they admit they’re a sinner and ask Jesus to save them. Others would say someone is only a Christian if they accept Jesus into their hearts.

    I can easily pinpoint -my own definition- of the core essence of Christianity, but what I could not do is tell you what Christianity’s “official definition” is of its core essence. While there are certainly people who would say that their own views are definitive for all of Christianity, that doesn’t make it so. There are plenty of Christian websites that tout themselves as “what Christians believe” that do not describe me or pretty good chunks of Christianity.

    Likewise, going to a Muslim website that says, “This is what Muslims believe” does not give us insight into what all Muslims actually believe.

  • ?
    I’m not talking about anything negative that followers of Islam did to me.

    Muslims treated me wonderfully.

    I was speaking about the mistreatment by Muslims of others–millions of them, including the man who was arrested for blasphemy in Jordan,
    the slaughter of the Islamic wars in my life time– of Muslims killing other Muslims. A colleague of ours lived through the horrific Iraq-Iran war, saw her friends killed, etc.:-(

    I notice that your name says “4 Yemen.”

    Surely, you can see that Muslims slaughtering each other in Yemen is very wrong.

  • Realist1234

    Thats the problem with a relationship with the Lord – hard to pin it down!

  • Realist1234

    Is it really surprising that the majority of refugees fleeing conflict, flee to local countries?

  • ?
    If Islam is the true religion, why do millions of Muslim Egyptian parents (over 80%) practice this?

    If Islam is the true religion, why do Saudis practice this horror?

    Saudi Arabia is the site of Mecca, etc.

    “Female genital mutilation is present in Saudi Arabia.[25][47] FGM is most prevalent in Saudi regions following Shafi’i school within the Sunni sect of Islam, such as Hejaz, Tihamah and Asir.[171][172][173] In a clinical study, Alsibiani and Rouzi provide evidence of the practice in Saudi Arabia.[174] Another 2010 report claims post-FGM medical complications are an indicator of widespread prevalence of the practice in Saudi women.[175] A 2012 study finds, that of the Saudi women who had FGM, Type III was more common than Type I or II.[176]”

  • LOL!

    Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think that the Balfour Declaration in 1917 was one of the worst decisions of the 20th century.

  • ?
    I taught American literature/history and world literature for many years.

    When we dealt with the Middle East, I passed out a very similar map showing the claims that Jews made based on passages in their Bible.

  • I already know about that. Please see my other comment.

  • All of them, especially all the ones that came after the Apostles Creed.

  • Bones

    Christians practice fgm as well….as do Jews…even atheists….it’s a cultural practice

    “Female Genital Mutilation occurs in non-Muslim societies in Africa and is practiced by Christians, Muslims and Animists alike. In Egypt, where perhaps 97 percent of girls suffer genital mutilation, both Christian Copts and Muslims are complicit. Thus, it has long been concluded to be a cultural practice, not connected to religion.”

    It’s funny how you only post when anything Muslim pops up.

  • Yes, many times since 1974. Please read anything on my blog or the many comments I’ve made for years on the Internet.

    I am very strongly against the Israeli government’s unjust actions.

  • Yes:-(

  • This is a great example, Realist. You would define at least part of the core of Christianity as “a relationship with the Lord,” and I wouldn’t. That’s not to say that you’re wrong (I’m wrong about lots of things) or that both our views wouldn’t have some truth to them, but it does illustrate the issue.

    And this is why I get worked up when American Christians go on about “what Muslims believe.” We can’t even settle on “what Christians believe,” but now we’re all experts on a different religion?

  • Bones

    “The U.S. rejection of refugees is shameful.”

    That’s based on the fact that they are Muslim….which you hate…..

    So have you told your Muslim friends how much you hate Islam?

  • Please get the facts correct. I have opposed all the wars the U.S. has fought in the Middle East in the last 50 years. I am opposed to Zionism, think the Balfour Declaration was one of the worst decisions of the 20th century.

    I am strongly against anyone killing anyone. In the past it was mostly Christians; now it’s mostly Muslims killing each other.

    Look at the news on who is supporting the slaughter in Syria. It is Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States, Turkey (and the U.S. and Russia who don’t belong there).

    Look who is killing Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Other Muslims:-(

    Please read about the history of the Taliban, HAMAS, etc.

    Furthermore, the facts I’ve given (and the many more I could) do show that Islamic governments are intolerant, are persecuting humans for blasphemy, etc., are engaging in wars–Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia. ETC.

    This is a very strange conversation.

  • Bones


    Well I flatout reject most of them….

    Seems you’re defining everyone’s religion for them… the ones you criticise….

  • Bones

    Following Christ….

    It sure as heck has nothing to do with Greek philosophical ideas which wound up in a lot of doctrine…..

  • No, I was defining the Christian religion according to Christians. Recently, a Christian theologian claimed that I never was a Christian because we never accepted the creeds.

    And, as for Islam, I’ve given the views of Muslim leaders, not my own definitions!

  • Bones

    Are you still going with the Mohammad is a head chopper line????

    Why not ask your Muslim friends about it?

  • And?

    What does that mean?

    Religion is usually destructive in human affairs.

    How does that excuse Islam from doing it, too?

  • Herm

    Thank you Joe, most especially for such a considerate response.

    As little Christs we are dependent upon our adults in God to provide the vision that encompasses all dimensions. We are in the safer playpen provided by our Father from which we can look out from to broaden our awareness of the minimally physical, mental and spiritual life aspects of life that we can sense.

    We can trust more our eldest and most mature Brother of our family of God to teach to lead us out of our most vulnerable infancy into the reality of all that He certainly knows as an adult Son of God and the only ever begotten, by God, Son of Man. We must have a way to learn from Him faithfully and directly, as He in all love and grace is willing to teach. That Way was foreseen and provided by God in the beginning for all who choose to open and cleanse their most vulnerable hearts and minds to the complete filling of the Holy Spirit. Our Messiah Jesus did not see to fulfill our Father’s calling until the chronicled Dove landed to fill His spiritual heart and mind. Our Father then, for the first time on this earth, proclaimed to all present, “this is my Son of whom I am proud”. Then for the first time Jesus was spiritually connected and fully in sync with our Father. This Way is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is available to all who can realize they live only by the will of the grace of God and in no way by their own infant abilities.

    The Spirit of truth cannot be defined by any theology of Man. The Comforter can only be known when each of us individually realizes, in our own time (or not), our infantile dependency upon God to survive temporally and spiritually. Without direction from Those who do know the infinity beyond the cosmos we can see – and within the quark we cannot – we are subject to only our best guesses to survive as Man in the image of God and as short lived members of mankind.

    The Bible, as well as all historic human efforts to communicate with a sensed God by Man, only shows us how we might know God but in no way is the definitive answer for those seeking God, or especially for those seeking in their heart of hearts to be a god. There is no way possible to compile from the limited but growing words and art of mankind a fully encapsulated carnal guide book that depicts our God who is solely spirit with no beginning. The ultimate Guide of God is the Holy Spirit who is certainly, by Jesus and our tested testimony, made available to be humbly acceptable by all within mankind of any unique characteristic. He shares only the words/pictures from and to each and all the hearts and minds that He abides within which then through Him united make up the family of God of one heart and one mind growing together eternally.

    We cannot actually constructively and productively love our neighbor as ourselves without God’s guidance; who has the vision to know each of our needs to be loved that we alone are otherwise blind to. We have to allow those adults of God who can fully see to direct us, Their little vision impaired children, in fulfilling our loving responsibility as adults of Man to know how to carry our cross for our neighbor as Jesus knew how to carry His for us by way of the Dove.

    I have no earthly security without the protection of God. I find true peace and joy as a frail little child through the graced and clear love of my Father and Brother who I know this moment as full in reality as my heart and mind can contain.

    Love you! You helped begin my day with a good cup of Joe, thank you!

  • I sure have. We spent many hours discussing Islam.

  • Bones

    It’s pretty ingenuous to say those wars are just about religion.

    The Saudis aren’t bombing Houthis because they’re shia but because they’ve taken over their puppet government. In fact the Yemen crisis comes out of the North Yemen Independence movement as well as the Yemeni governments decision to cut fuel subsidies to its impoverished people (Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East). Add into that a deposed dictator who had been replaced by a US and Saudi puppet. (wtf is the US doing in Yemen)

    Saudis oil reserves have been overestimated and they are very keen to get to Yemen’s vast oil fields through their puppet

    This had nothing to do with interpretations of the Quran.

    But poor people paying exorbitant prices for fuel.

    You are aware that the Syrian conflict is part of a greater political conflict……which involves all sorts of actors and backers…..

    Syria is very much a pawn in the powerplay being acted out in the Middle East just like Israel encouraged Hamas to weaken and divide the PLO.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much Phil. I know most evangelicals emphasize born again belief in the Christ of faith as the mark, others simply following the Jesus of history and his teachings as the mark. These days I believe the true mark of a Christian is a mixture of both.

  • Bones

    So you get to define who is or isn’t a Christian now based on………….what someone else wrote…..

    And ‘The views of Muslim leaders’ vary widely……just like the views on Christianity vary.

    Muslims in Indonesia are totally unlike Muslims in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

    How many western Islamic scholars have you studied.

    That’s another group that gets overlooked because they aren’t as sensational or nutty as the sheikh from Saudi Arabia.

    I’m sure you can find a view of a ‘Muslim leader’ to justify anything.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Bones. I suppose you tend to lean toward following the teachings of the Jesus of history as the mark of a Christian, but not necessarily the Christ of faith, Gospel of John, church creed, etc. stuff?

  • Bones

    Btw you can’t be a follower of Christ and practise oppression.

    I don’t care what your theology is.

  • Bones

    The teachings of Jesus in Context……

  • Matthew

    I do admit there are theologies out there that are heavy on the doctrine and belief, but rather empty on the following and the teachings. You do have a point.

  • Matthew

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • Bones


    Because it’s not a religious practice.

    I’ve been a Christian my whole life and I know of no teaching in Christianity anywhere which prescribes FGM…..

    Yet Christians in Africa do it.

    If Christian Coptics, pagans and Egyptian Muslims are performing FGM then you you can bet it’s a cultural practice, not a religious one.

    It is decidedly an African cultural issue.

    I mean some of these countries in Africa are predominantly Christian countries….

    Didn’t the message get to Muslim countries who don’t practice it.

  • Bones

    Well they can’t be that bad then……if they remain friends with someone who hates what they believe…..

    That’s just…….weird……

    And the rejection of refugees is based on the fact that they are Muslim……..

  • Matthew

    One man’s context, another man’s proof text! :-) :-)

  • Bones

    Some of those countries aren’t local……..

  • wolfeevolution

    Hey brother — I wasn’t accusing you of being in cahoots with the military industrial complex. I apologize for coming across that way, and see where you get that from what I said. I was just speaking in general terms of what one tends to see in America: there is Zionist anti-Islamicism, sure, but that’s probably a minority camp, and there are separate phenomena of militarist anti-Islamicism, as well as humanist anti-Islamicism. I didn’t talk about the last category (and these are from-the-hip categories; it’s not as if I’ve studied this, but they make sense to me anyway), but you seem to fall into that category, if I understand your comments right.

  • ?
    I don’t reject refugees, but support the view that at least 200,000 more ought to be helped by the U.S. Germany took in almost 1 million.

    Secondly, I hate creedal Christianity, but most of my beloved relatives think that that religion is true.

    That has nothing to do with our care for each other.

    Maybe take a word from the Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta about Teresa MacBain:
    “…she may have been hesitant about letting people know because she lost a lot of her close friends when she came out as an atheist. I could understand if she feared losing her atheist friends this time around. (I would hope atheists wouldn’t abandon her over this.)”

  • ?
    The vast majority of Muslims believe these points, don’t they?

    “A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam

    You are here: Islam Guide Home > Chapter 3, General Information on Islam > Some Basic Islamic Beliefs

    Some Basic Islamic Beliefs

    1) Belief in God:

    Muslims believe in one, unique, incomparable God, Who has no son nor partner, and that none has the right to be worshipped but Him alone. He is the true God, and every other deity is false. He has the most magnificent names and sublime perfect attributes. No one shares His divinity, nor His attributes. In the Quran, God describes Himself:

    Say, “He is God, the One. God, to Whom the creatures turn for their needs. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like Him.” (Quran, 112:1-4)

    Chapter 112 of the Quran written in Arabic calligraphy

    Chapter 112 of the Quran written in Arabic calligraphy.

    No one has the right to be invoked, supplicated, prayed to, or shown any act of worship, but God alone.

    God alone is the Almighty, the Creator, the Sovereign, and the Sustainer of everything in the whole universe. He manages all affairs….
    God is not Jesus, and Jesus is not God.2 Even Jesus himself rejected this. God has said in the Quran:

    Indeed, they have disbelieved who have said, “God is the Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary.” The Messiah said, “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates partners in worship with God, then God has forbidden Paradise for him, and his home is the Fire (Hell). For the wrongdoers,3 there will be no helpers.” (Quran, 5:72)

    God is not a trinity. God has said in the Quran:

    Indeed, they disbelieve who say, “God is the third of three (in a trinity),” when there is no god but one God. If they desist not from what they say, truly, a painful punishment will befall the disbelievers among them. Would they not rather repent to God and ask His forgiveness? For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a messenger… (Quran, 5:73-75)

    2) Belief in the Angels:

    Muslims believe in the existence of the angels and that they are honored creatures. The angels worship God alone, obey Him, and act only by His command. Among the angels is Gabriel, who brought down the Quran to Muhammad .

    3) Belief in God’s Revealed Books:

    Muslims believe that God revealed books to His messengers as proof for mankind and as guidance for them. Among these books is the Quran, which God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion. God has said:

    Indeed, We have sent down the Quran, and surely We will guard it (from corruption). (Quran, 15:9)

    4) Belief in the Prophets and Messengers of God:

    … But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last prophet sent by God, as God has said:

    Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets… (Quran, 33:40)

    5) Belief in the Day of Judgment:

    Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) when all people will be resurrected for God’s judgment according to their beliefs and deeds.

    6) Belief in Al-Qadar:

    … 3) Whatever God wills to happen happens, and whatever He wills not to happen does not happen. 4) God is the Creator of everything.”

  • Wolfe, Maybe the problem is I’ve been at this too long–defending human rights, opposing wars, working for equality for all humans, writing letters to Muslim governments asking them to stop imprisoning innocent prisoners of conscience.

    My wife and I started working in an Amnesty International group about 35 years ago. And I just wrote two more letters this week for innocent people.

    And everyday, I see more and more injustice.

    I think that religions as practiced–for the most part–are destructive and intolerant and harmful.

    For 55 years, I’ve watched Christians and Muslims slaughter untold numbers of other humans in the name of God. And it has been going on for many centuries before.

    If you really want to get depressed read a few volumes about the Roman Catholic wars versus the Reformed in Europe, The French Religious Wars, the 30 Years War, the English Civil War. In the latter, like now for Muslims, Christians went into battle praising their God:-(

    So I oppose such religions, as well as nationalism, etc.

    Thanks for the dialog.

  • Realist1234

    Jesus called his disciples ‘friends’. By definition that is a relationship. But clearly following Jesus is much more than that.

  • Right, but the Twelve were actually his friends in actual life. Do you think everyone in those crowds who followed Jesus around had the same relationship to him that the Twelve did?

  • Matthew

    Not everyone who followed him around believed in him either.

  • Bones

    I doubt any who followed him around thought of him as a god or YHWH.

    Some thought he was a prophet, Elijah, a rebel, an outlaw….

    Time for some Larry Norman

  • Bones

    The rejection of refugees is based on a hatred of Islam……this is a clear example where the hatred of an ideology openly translates to the hatred of people.

    Hating Islam is very much n vogue if you haven’t noticed.

    And i’m not sure why people would HATE credal christanity.

    Reject it – yes, hate it – no.

    As I said, your Muslim friends are obviously better human beings than a lot of others.

  • Bones


    Go and survey 1.6 billion of them and come back to me.

  • Bones

    It does make me wonder why people need a bible verse to tell them to do the right thing.

  • Bones

    Your continual referral to the Yemen War as Sunni v Shia is pretty ignorant.

    Saudis aren’t bombing houthis because of their interpretation of the Quran but because they ousted their corrupt puppet.

    Also how is the Iran/Iraq war religious?

    Iraq was a secular nationalist Arab country. In fact Saddam Hussein praised the Iranian revolution for ousting the shah.

    It was really about border and territorial disputes and control of the region.

    “Saddam’s goal was to replace Egypt as the “leader of the Arab world” and to achieve hegemony over the Persian Gulf.[60] He saw Iran’s increased weakness due to revolution, sanctions, and international isolation.[55] Saddam had invested heavily in Iraq’s military since his defeat against Iran in 1975, buying large amounts of weaponry from the Soviet Union and France. By 1980, Iraq possessed 200,000 soldiers, 2,000 tanks and 450 aircraft.[59]:1 Watching the powerful Iranian army that frustrated him in 1974–1975 disintegrate, he saw an opportunity to attack, using the threat of Islamic Revolution as a pretext.[59][61]”

    They sure as hell weren’t killing each other over the Quran or doctrine.

    It was about politics – not religion.

    It’s about the oil.

    As usual…..

  • Matthew

    If it’s not about knowing the right thing to do based on the teachings of Jesus in scripture (in context of course), why do you follow him?

  • Matthew

    Who did Peter think he was?

  • Bones

    The messiah…..(anointed one)

    Which at no time in Israel’s history was that thought to be a god.

    In fact Christ does not admonish those who thought of him as just a prophet.

  • True, but obviously he didn’t have a personal relationship with every individual who did.

  • The news articles I’ve read said that it is a power struggle between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) versus Iran (Shia).
    And a similar power struggle in Syria between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) versus Hezbollah/Iran (Shia).

    Of course it is politics, too, like the infamous religious wars between Catholics versus Reformed in the 1500-1600’s.

    Religion and politics are like two conjoined twins.

  • Cygnus

    By the same token you can say that H. Clinton is groveling for Muslim votes.

  • Cygnus

    You’re still mixing politics with religions. In a democratic society religions should not have a say, no matter how “moderate” is the religion, it still doesn’t seek humanity, but “divinity”.

  • Bones


  • Bones

    It is far more than the simplistic meme you’ve made it out to be. The media likes to define the whole conflict in terms of religion.

    The whole conflict is more political than religious. The houthis didn’t depose Hadi because he was sunni or because he had a different interpretation of the quran. There was far more to it than that.

    The straw that broke the camels back was the removal of fuel subsidies which angered the incredibly poor population.

    It had nothing to do with Islamic differences. Iran also recommended that the houthis pull back.

    And you are aware that many sunnis are fighting for assad….

    “Assad’s Sunni Foot Soldiers

    In Syria’s conscript military, Sunnis traditionally made up a large number of lower-ranking soldiers, in proportion to their share of the general population, according to analysts who study the Syrian armed forces. Even today, rebel videos showing captured government soldiers reciting their names and hometowns almost always include Sunni conscripts, for example. Aron Lund, editor of the Syria in Crisis blog at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the government still relies on Sunnis to fill its fighting ranks.

    “There are Sunni Muslim Syrians fighting on the front line for Assad even today, even though many may be conscripts or fight simply for a living wage,” Lund said. “The regime was really bleeding Sunni support in 2011 to 2013, but then it seemed to stabilize to some degree.””

    Syria is a quagmire clusterf#ck which encompasses Kurdish ambitions and the influence of geopolitical players behind the scene.

  • Bones

    You can thank your allies, the wonderful Saudis, for exporting their poisonous brand of Islam to moderate countries via their embassies and oil money.

    “Islam in Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, is taking a more conservative turn. The Muslim faith, brought here by Arab traders hundreds of years ago, has coexisted for generations with Malay customs such as shamanism, other forms of traditional medicine and the country’s sizable Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities.

    But more recently, conservative Wahhabi doctrines, often spread by Saudi-financed imams, are redefining the way Islam is practiced and, for some, eroding the tolerance for which the country has been known.”

  • Bones

    Actually in a democratic society everyone has a say including fundie and bigoted nutters.

    This is the US where politicians fall over themselves proving how much they believe in God to their voters..

    How do you think an openly atheist presidential candidate would go in the US?

  • So… Clinton has appointed a panel of prominent Muslim religious leaders as part of her campaign staff? News to me.

  • Bones

    Do you see the Russian invasion of the Ukraine as a religious war between Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox?

    No. Of course no one does…..

    Yet when a sunni country is at war with a Shia country it”s always because of religion.

    Why then did the Zaidi houthis rebel against former Shia dictator saleh?

    Because of the quran?

    Or was it to do with the division of Yemen into poor and rich areas and autonomy for their areas?

  • wolfeevolution

    Well, except that the metaphor of conjoined twins suggests two equal bodies, or almost-equal bodies at any rate. Instead, it would seem that in many cases, religion is both the handmaiden and the whipping-boy of politics, serving the interests of politics and getting blamed when politics runs afoul. For that matter, atheism — both the denial of the existence of all gods and the denial of the validity of a particular god — can also be politics’ handmaiden and whipping boy.

  • Matthew

    Might the personal relationship have something to do with the inner living of the Holy Spirit in that of the believer?

  • Matthew

    Fair enough. Thanks.

    Well Jesus is a prophet, but he’s also more than a prophet, although I think you don’t believe such. Israel may not have believed that their Messiah was going to be a god, but doesn´t Son of God imply the divinity of Christ — hence the reason many who call themselves Christian believe in the Christ of faith and his divinity even if Jews (for example) do not?

    What about Thomas and the famous “My Lord and my God” statement? Also the Bible seems to indicate that only God can forgive sins, a claim the Bible also makes about Jesus.

  • Nathan Dunning

    The Gentle Kindness experienced in the MUslim world between Muslisms?Are you Mental or perhaps you are Blind?20,000 Christians slaughtered in the last 2 years for their faith in Yeshua Ha’mashiach (aka Jesus Christ) the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE! Would have a different opinion to offer.But unfortunately there are not many left out 150,000 in the region at the beginning of ISIS birth into reality.No way are Muslim nations doing enough.By the way the p[eace in Saudi where they Beheade more people publically than ISIS? You mate,are either a plan and agent for the spread of Islam or truly believe that Garbage

  • Nathan Dunning

    CHRIST LIKE EXAMPLE/ You make me sick! you lying swine!

  • Jeff Preuss

    That’s needlessly hostile.

  • Matthew

    I don´t think anyone here would deny that there are extremist elements within the Islamic fold, but that alone doesn´t necessarily diminish the point(s) Benjamin is making in his article.

  • Bones

    Jews don’t even consider Jesus a prophet yet they have a get out of hell free card somehow.

  • Bones

    Son of God in Judaism just means ‘Godlikeness’.

    It certainly never meant the same as the convoluted Christian sense.

    Where Jesus is the Son of God and YHWH.

  • Bones

    Some people need to get away from from reading anti-Muslim hate sites.

    Muslim nations are doing more than the west. And ISIS are beheading Muslims as well.

    The west is just financing the conflict without taking any responsibility for it. HECK the missile that killed 140 at a yemenI wedding was a US missile fired by the Saudis.

  • Matthew

    Maybe so, but there is a lot in the NT that seems to suggest that Jesus was more than a prophet (in a non-convoluted sense of course :-) :-)) and that Christian theology has good reason to support and uphold Jesus´ divinity, but then we are probably now full circle Bones re: your view and my view of what the Gospels (specifically the Gospel of John) say about who Jesus is.

  • wolfeevolution

    Who’s talking about peace in Saudi? Only you, apparently.

    The absence of gentle kindness in certain locations toward certain people (which nobody here denies) does not negate the presence of gentle kindness among the Muslims Ben met.

    Hatred toward Muslims is unbecoming of those who have experienced the mercy of our Lord.

  • PedasiPaul

    Do you consider Israel to be a democratic society?

  • Matthew


  • It might, but that would be a theological construction apart from the actual text. Further, there were numbers of people who believed in Jesus prior to Pentecost as well as Old Testament saints who obviously did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    For my part, I think it’s totally fine to describe the possession of the Spirit or the ongoing activity or prayer and obedience as a “personal relationship” if you want, but there’s no biblical text that calls it that, much less a text that singles it out as the core of being a Christ-follower.

    This is why I tend to favor descriptions that are more corporate and broader than a specific moment in the history of the people of God. Terms like “new creation” and “kingdom of God” embrace the faithful of Israel in the Old Testament, those first century believers, and us. It embraces pre- and post- Pentecost. And it has the advantage of coming from the biblical texts. Terms like “personal relationship with Jesus,” even in a broad, metaphysical sense, can only describe a subset of that group and, at best, are abstractions from the text. So, I personally don’t prefer them. If someone else does, great, but once again, that just shows that we can’t use “personal relationship with Jesus” as something that describes all Christian belief.

  • kaydenpat

    I didn’t know that Ethiopia hosted so many refugees. It’s pretty amazing that some of the poorest countries in the world host so many refugees. America should have no qualms about taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees given our largesse.

  • kaydenpat

    Cite to even one example where H. Clinton is groveling for Muslim votes. Just one.

  • wolfeevolution

    Not meaning to detract from the credit due to these poor countries for their hospitality, but it’s worth noting that in at least some of these locales, the poorer countries don’t provide much in the way of their own infrastructure to host the refugees, but rather rely on the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other international NGOs to help them help the refugees. The US government funds the UNHCR to the tune of $1.4B per year, more than four times the #2 government on the donor list, the European Union ( Of course, if certain small-government true believers had their way, we would not only not take more refugees, but we’d cut funding to the UNHCR as well….

  • Helen4Yemen

    { there are extremist elements within the Islamic fold}

    And none in the Jewish and Christian fold?

  • Helen4Yemen

    I speak from personal experience. My own upbringing straddled the ME and E.Africa. I aught to know about such matters. Believe me I do. Thank you.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Dear Dr. Benjamin L. Corey: I was totally surprised when I came across your article. It is so rare to find articles these days that speak of Muslims without hatred. I have been quoting the following statements by you and posting them at different forums. Thank you.

    Dr. Benjamin L. Corey: “On top of that list is Jordan, a country I just returned from a few days ago. This was my second invited trip to Jordan, and one of the biggest take-always I came home with was a deeper appreciation for the generosity and radical hospitality that is so unique to the Muslim world. The gentle kindness I experience when among Muslims is second to none– it’s one of the few places in the world where you can be walking down the street one minute, and sitting as the guest of honor in a stranger’s house the next. Islamic hospitality is truly extraordinary on the global scene.”
    Dr. Benjamin L. Corey: “As people who claim to want to follow Jesus, we have a lot to learn from the Christ-like example of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the Middle East who have a long tradition of welcoming in the stranger.”
    Dr. Benjamin L. Corey: “The beautiful, selfless, and generous hospitality of Muslim nations is an example we should all aspire to, if we truly want to make Christians Christ-like again.”

  • wolfeevolution

    Respectfully: Your personal experience in E. Africa does not give you license to speak derogatorily of all Muslims in non-Arab countries. I also speak from personal experience. Thank you.

  • Matthew

    No … there also.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil. I know you offered up your personal definition of what makes one a Christian in another post. Would you mind offering it up again here? I´d like to remember it better. Thanks again.

  • wolfeevolution

    I keep thinking back on this conversation and trying to put myself in your shoes. I think it would be only natural for me to try to discredit someone who converted from Christianity to Islam and who then became a tool in the anti-Christianity industry, spreading hate against my faith. I would want to say that she had never truly understood her faith, or else she might not have left the fold or said what she said. I would probably want to say that her experience of Christianity was not indicative of what the Christian faith is really like. These are all very natural impulses.

    I think where it gets dangerous is when we chalk up an apostate’s presumably shallow faith to their ethnolinguistic heritage. Personally I don’t think it’s wise to cross that line, because it leads us in the direction of prejudice and racism. Of course that’s just my opinion.


  • Well, I keep my definitions of such things kind of porous because I don’t get to say who is and isn’t a Christian, but my own definition is something like: a Christian believes that Israel’s God has reconciled her faithful to Himself and restored her through the mission of Jesus Christ and, as a result, has joined God’s people (Jew and Gentile) in being a faithful witness in the world to a new creation.

  • Cygnus

    When Trump says that Muslims are terrorists, H.Clinton brings a Muslim to attest that Muslim defends America, and Muslims are heroes that defend America (see DNC convention), so their religion is better than atheism or Christianism, or, Buddhisms, or Hindusism, or Catholicism, or Protestantism, or Pastafarianists, to defend America.

    Moreover, I’ve read and article in a Muslim blog where they wanted that their votes to be begged by the presidential candidates because Muslims are an “important” part of America.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about what Muslims write in their blogs when it comes about their religion, but when they try to mix their religion in public/state affairs, as Christians are still trying, after they are not anymore totalitarian, then there’s a duty for every American citizen to defend the US Constitution and civil liberties.

  • Cygnus

    Pay attention, I wrote about Muslim saying that their votes are important for a presidential candidate, not about Clinton’s campaign staff.

  • Cygnus

    Read the replies above.

  • Cygnus

    Is Israel a secular or a religious state?

  • Cygnus

    “Actually in a democratic society everyone has a say including fundie and bigoted nutters.”
    Of course, just make sure they are not governing.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much Phil.

  • Realist1234

    I take your point, but looking at Jesus’ words in full it is hard not to apply them to all of His disciples:

    “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

    He is contrasting the relationship between a servant who simply does what he is told and knows little of his master, and friends who really know their friend. I appreciate He spoke these words in the context of the Twelve, in a personal situation, but much of what He says to them seems to me to also apply to all His followers – He didnt just die for His 12 friends, He doesnt just tell them to love each other, and they are not the only ones who know the Father’s business. And He specifically says “You are my friends if you do what I command”. It is difficult to argue this does not apply to all of us.

    So it seems to me there is both a personal context and wider context to His words, as is the case for much of what Jesus said solely to His 12 closest disciples.

  • Matthew

    Thanks again Phil.

  • And that’s completely fine. But you see how that relies on your interpretation and not something inherent in the text that every Christian would agree to. That’s my point – not that your interpretation is incorrect, but that we can’t say, “Well, one thing we all agree on is that we all need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

    As we’ve seen, it’s kind of tricky to nail down exactly what that is. Even in the passage that you cite, Jesus isn’t writing this down for everyone. He’s talking to a small group that’s in the room with him. I personally think it would be weird if someone were in that room and thought, “Obviously he also means all believers who are not part of this conversation right now as well as all believers everywhere until the end of time.” But it’s also possible that’s what he meant. You gave some good reasons, and I respect that.

  • Would you say that Clinton’s actions are comparable to Trump’s when it comes to gathering votes from particular religious demographics?

  • Cygnus

    Are secular states more apt to help Muslim refugees?

  • Cygnus

    About “religious demographics”:”Demographic” is about graphic related to whatever some people are structured given some natural characteristics: age, sex, physicality, etc.

    “Religious demographic” is a structure made by an ideolgoy. There are religious organizations, or organized religions that brag and terrorize about how powerful they are or how powerful their votes are begged by presidential candidates when it comes to inserting religion in politics, which BTW, is unconstitutional.

    If a presidential candidate seeks votes according to demographics, that’s fine. A presidential candidate can seek women votes, since the religion is not anymore totalitarian and women are free to vote for their rights as women, so it is OK to seek to gather women votes, as a segment of the population identified by demographics.

    A presidential candidate can seek votes from race segment of the population identified as African American, or Mexican American, or Asian American, but “religious demographic”, again, it is totally irrelevant, unsolicited, and unwanted in public/state/governing affairs in a secular state as the US is.

  • Bones

    You mean like George W…..Cruz…..Trump????

    You realise you are describing the Republican Party candidates.

  • Bones

    Yeah….good strategy. By picking up the couple of million Muslim vote she turns away the 20 million Muslim haters…..that”s a winner…

    It’s interesting how not demonizing a group now turns into sucking up to them.

    She doesn’t have to suck up to their vote because Trump is driving them, Latinos and blacks away. Oh and women.

    The one sucking up to anyone is the one going after the uneducated white male fundie evangelical anti-PC vote.

    Or maybe she”s not just being an arsehole.

    Weren’t the Dems blowing Muslims up?

  • Bones

    To country’s like my own we are really amazed at how religion plays a role in policies in conservative politics in the US.

    The Republicans are going further and further to the right.

    And are becoming unelectabe to anyone with half a brain or is in their gun sights.

    It’ll be interesting who the next candidates will be.

    Maybe the clown from IT or ask Putin.

  • Bones

    You really are an impressive human being who Christ would be most proud of.

  • Adrian S

    I have nothing with letting those countries help their own. But one must understand the complexities of the area. The west must take affirmative action to protect those that have no one. Those refugees are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and belong to various religious sub-groups as well. All those who are in minority in their country of origin or in the country that houses them are at risk of violent reprisal, even after reaching refugee camps. The west should commit to taking those people who will face the largest threat first of all. This will also make it easier for those countries to take care of the remaining refugees once sectarian violence is out of the picture (an issue they can’t handle as their institutions have never proven able to cope with these types of challenges).

  • gimpi1

    Thank you for this, especially the chart. I’ve argued with people about how Islamic countries “Don’t do anything to help.” I’ve offered links to the Red Crescent, to other Islamic disaster-relief groups and stats on refugee aid. For some reason, people assume if they don’t know something, it doesn’t exist. This stuff isn’t hard to find…

    Well, it’s a bit easier now. I can link to this article and to your chart. Thanks again.

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    I am not surprised by the figures you provided us. Unfortunately, most Christians see our faith as a “safe” faith. For some reason they seem to think that Jesus means for us to take care of our own first and if there is anything left give it to the refugees. Or that when God told the Jews to welcome the refugees in the Old Testament, God meant only if they become Jews and if they don’t refuse entry. If bringing in refugees seems to them to be dangerous they feel that God is ok with us not letting in refugees because they may be a danger to our children. In fact they seem to have forgotten our obligation to the poor as if that is somehow optional or solved by throwing money at it. Heaven begins on earth and Christians are the ones who are to do it, remembering that the second part of greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves. (First part tells us to love our God with all our hearts, soul and minds).

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    There sure are extremists in the Jewish and Christian fold but I am with Matthew that despite there being “extremists within the Islamic fold, [but] that alone doesn´t necessarily diminish the point(s) Benjamin is making in his article.”

  • Cygnus

    Cruz and Trump not governing. Bush W was not president…Dick was, but Bush was the most idiot president ever. We are learning.

  • Cygnus

    “Weren’t the Dems blowing Muslims up?”
    Who started the Muslim blowing up game for oil?

  • Bones

    Cruz and Trump sucked up to the evangelicals to show who hated abortion more. AND Trump still has a shot despite the most incompetent campaign ever.

    Bush was voted in…….twice……

  • Nixon is Lord

    How about making birth control, including abortion, more widely available?
    Overpopulation, including a huge mass of underemployed and angry young people, contributes hugely to these countries’ instability and misery.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Which medical school did you go to ?

  • Nixon is Lord

    Could you give an example of “needfully hostile”?

  • Helen4Yemen

    Too much truth for ya, huh?

  • Cygnus

    “AND Trump still has a shot despite the most incompetent campaign ever.”
    And you have a lot of faith.

  • Bones

    Not in Trump…..and not in opinion polls…

  • Cygnus

    So, on what you base your affirmation that Trump ” still has a shot despite the most incompetent campaign ever.” ?

  • Bones

    Opinion polls have been wrong eg Brexit, UK election all had opinion polls which forecast the opposite of the actual outcome.

    Trump should be slaughtered….but won’t be….

  • wolfeevolution

    In certain locations, the problem is not availability but rather popularity of birth control. Just sayin’.

  • Cygnus

    Oh, boy… England. What happened to this country that seems to be rejected by Europe AND the US?

  • SamHamilton

    Decent point. There are probably a lot more refugees in the U.S. fleeing problems in central America than there are in Middle Eastern countries, but does that make the U.S. more hospitable to refugees than Middle Eastern countries? I don’t know.

  • SamHamilton

    Some Christians in the U.S. can certainly learn some things from some Muslims (and visa versa) about hospitality. I’m not contesting the point that Christians need to work on our hospitality or that accepting 10k or more Syrian refugees would be the just thing to do, but what the numbers above don’t take into account is overall immigration. The U.S. takes in hundreds of thousands of people from central and south America and Asia who are fleeing all sorts of problems, but who aren’t designated official refugees.

    What matters more than raw numbers though, is the attitude of the host country’s people. Are Syria’s neighbors welcoming the refugees with open arms or are they “taking them in” merely because they’re there and a reality? And what is our attitude toward the reality of immigrants fleeing strife in their home country?

  • Nixon is Lord

    Wow-what a comeback! Grad school wasn’t wasted on you, clearly!

  • Nixon is Lord

    Ah-avoiding the question-brilliant, must be a preacher’s kid.