LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Ayman Ibrahim wants more American evangelicals to reshape the way they think about their Muslim neighbors. He says that starts with not being afraid of them.
“Among Westerners in general, there is a sort of phobia about Muslims,” said Ibrahim, the newly appointed assistant professor of Islamic studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. “But Islam is not monolithic. To say, ‘Islam is ISIS,’ is very naive.”
Ibrahim, who grew up in a Coptic Orthodox family in Cairo, Egypt, tells his American students that the Muslim faith is as diverse as most other faiths – it is best, he says, to talk not about “Islam, but Islams.” Although much of his ministry involves the apologetic defense of Christianity, he says he chiefly wants to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims and invite them to receive it in faith.
I agree. There is a lot of anti-Muslim stereotype and bias that is just not justified. For example, assuming that all Muslims are prone to violence, or overlooking the high degree of piety than many Muslims exhibit.
Evangelizing Muslims is critical, and to evangelize someone, we have to understand and respect them.