CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Islam and Christmas

Dec 23, 2012

I have recently written about all the ornery atheists who hate Christ, hate Christmas, and hate anyone who enjoys both. They have made it their goal in life to become misotheistic scrooges, doing their best to make life miserable for anyone who dares to celebrate this occasion.

Well, sadly, they are not alone. Islam of course vehemently denies that God had a son, so it abhors the entire notion of Christmas. It is considered to be blasphemous to even countenance the thought that God could have a son. Indeed, on a wall on the Dome of the Rock are these words written in Arabic: “I [Allah] have no son, and whoever says he is my son is a liar.” Thus the celebration of Christmas is taboo in Islam.

And many outspoken Muslims are quite happy to remind us of this. We have had another example of this yet again. Consider this headline from today’s press: “No merriness here: mosque puts fatwa on Christmas”. The story opens as follows:

“The Lakemba Mosque has issued a fatwa against Christmas, warning followers it is a ‘sin’ to even wish people a Merry Christmas. The religious ruling, which followed a similar lecture during Friday prayers at Australia’s biggest mosque, was posted on its Facebook site on Saturday morning.

“The head imam at Lakemba, Sheikh Yahya Safi, had told the congregation during prayers that they should not take part in anything to do with Christmas. Samir Dandan, the president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, which oversees the mosque, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

“The fatwa, which has sparked widespread community debate and condemnation, warns that the ‘disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path’. It also says that Christmas Day and associated celebrations are among the ‘falsehoods that a Muslim should avoid … and therefore, a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate the Christmas Day nor is he allowed to congratulate them’.”

This angry denunciation of Christmas is not unique to this Sydney mosque of course. Many others have said it as well. Consider for example this one-minute video clip. Please listen for yourself: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFW3ZNC8sjw&feature=youtu.be

In it we hear an Islamic scholar claiming that ‘Saying Merry Christmas is worse than fornication, or drinking alcohol, or killing someone’. Worse than killing someone! And yet people keep telling us Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.

Not quite. Any faithful Muslim will follow closely the teachings and practices of Muhammad, and there is no way he can be described as either peaceful or tolerant. But I have documented that elsewhere:
www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/21/jesus-muhammad-and-violence/
www.billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/13/violence-in-the-bible-and-the-koran/

Thus I hope you all enjoy this Christmas season. But you might need to be careful who you talk to about this. There seem to be plenty of angry atheists and Muslims out there who will not take too kindly to your Christmas wishes.

www.theage.com.au/nsw/no-merriness-here-mosque-puts-fatwa-on-christmas-20121222-2bsk2.html

[476 words]

40 Responses to Islam and Christmas

  • Dear Bill, I recently heard on a program on Radio National that Muslims actually like Christmas. Obviously some Muslims do not like Christmas. I remember reading one or two articles about Muslims blowing up Churches in Indonesia and Nigeria on Christmas Day in recent years. The Christians in Australia have to be vigilant about what Christmas is supposed to be about and why it is important to us. We do not need Ebenezer Scrooge or people who go the lakemba mosque.
    Wishing you the blessings of Christmas, Franklin Wood

  • This is sad that this is occurring in Australia. Yet, it is to be expected now that muslim numbers increased by 137% in 15 years to be 2.2% of our population. If we do not take steps now to protect our country we will be unable to soon.

    It is said in other countries with different levels of islamic followers that ‘The Five Stages of Islam.” are:

    Stage 1. Establish a Beachhead

    Population density at 2% (US, Australia, Canada).
    Muslims are conciliatory, deferential but request harmless special treatment (foot bath facilities, removal/elimination of that which is offensive to delicate Muslim sensibilities – like walking dogs near Mosques).

    Stage 2. Establish Outposts

    Population density 2% – 5% (UK, Germany, Denmark). At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. A recent example[7] is that of Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal who is back in Jamaica after being kicked out of the UK. Sound harmless? Read on:
    The dispatch, dated February 2010, warns that that Jamaica could be fertile ground for jihadists because of its underground drug economy, marginalized youth, insufficient security and gang networks in U.S. and British prisons.

    Stage 3. Establish Sectional Control of Major Cities.

    Population density 5%-10% (France, Sweden, Netherlands).
    First comes the demand for halal food in supermarkets, and the blocking of streets for prayers; then comes the demand for self rule (within their ghettos) under Sharia. When Muslims approach 10% of the population the demands turn to lawlessness. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any criticism of Islam results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam. In France which may be over the 10% range, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos.[8] There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrassas. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death.

    Stage 4. Establish Regional Control.

    Population density 20%-50% (Europe 2020?). After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.

    Stage 5. Total Control, Brutal Suppression, and Dhimmitude.

    Population density > 50%.
    Unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and jizya, the tax placed on infidels. As Muslim population levels increase and all infidels cower in submission there will peace at last. Dar al-Islam is achieved and everyone lives under Sharia and the Koran is the only word.

    Our current Western world leaders are suckered by taqiyya and kitman and steering us into stage 3. Allen West[9] seems to get it but I can’t see that any of the crop of current GOP contenders really get it. Fear of bigotry at stage 2 is the Islamists’ greatest weapon. Crucified on the cross of bigotry — is that the future of the Western democracies? Bigotry is only bigotry if it is out of touch with reality and it is the suckers who believe the stage 1-2 peace pitch of Islam who are the ones who are out of touch with reality — not to mention our mesmerized President. The first GOP candidate who announces to Imam Rauf and his supporters, “Fine. A Mosque at ground zero. But how about a cathedral in Mecca first? It is part of our Christian outreach program of bridge building.” will be the first to get it and a big boost in the polls.

    Anna Dominguez Smith

  • Hi Bill, we should pray that common sense prevails and that Muslims would consider the true meaning and reason for Christmas.

    May you and your family nave a Blessed Christmas.

    Fred Merlo

  • Thanks Anna

    Yes much of that initial research comes from this important volume:

    Hammond, Peter, Slavery, Terrorism and Islam, 3rd ed. Xulon Elite, 2012.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Fred. You too.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Will fatwas constitute a breach of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Act 2012; assuming the Bill is passed?

    Dunstan Hartley

  • Thanks, Bill, for that reference.

    Anna Dominguez Smith

  • Actually, I am glad about this little development, why? Because maybe this will wake the people of Australia up and get them to start thinking about things other than themselves – things like, the future of our nation, the future of our grand children, I think I have said enough!

    Steve Davis

  • I think it is important not to take extreme incidents like this as exemplary of Islam as a whole or Muslim’s as a whole, even though that is exactly what Jihadist groups want you (us) to do. There is a war going on within Islam itself over such issues, over who or what group speaks for Islam as a whole. We have this (who or which church speaks authoritatively for Christianity) same phenomenon within Christian history….as witnessed in the Reformation and Counte-Reformation.

    Four years ago here in Birmingham UK there were extreme ‘politically correct’ elements within the Birmingham City Council who wanted to abolish all Council funded Christmas decorations, abolish Christmas and introduce a new and entirely secular festival called ‘Winterfest”.

    As expected most Christians were as silent as dormice on the issue. But who was it that took a stand, was ‘outraged’ and demanded reinstatement of the Christian festival? Christians? Not at all. It was the local Muslim pressure groups who complained and so Christmas was re-instated !

    Now there is a lot about this story which is interesting but it just goes to show you cannot pain all Muslims with the same Christen hating brush.

    We gave a number of Muslim friends, a few of which you might call ‘very devout’ and they all send us Christmas cards and some even Christmas gifts.

    When given the option of living under a Muslim Shira Law State or within an officially tolerant Christian Constitutional Monarchy like the UK most. Muslims, at least over here in the UK, prefer to live in a nominally Christian country.There are many reasons for that

    Bill Gordon, UK

  • Thanks Bill

    Sorry, but I must call your bluff here. My friends in Birmingham, as well as even the leftist Guardian, really debunk your “evidence”: “Perhaps the most notorious of the anti-Christmas rebrandings is Winterval, in Birmingham, and when you telephone the Birmingham city council press office to ask about it, you are met first of all with a silence that might seasonably be described as frosty. “We get this every year,” a press officer sighs, eventually. “It just depends how many rogue journalists you get in any given year. We tell them it’s bollocks, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference…. According to an official statement from the council, Winterval – which ran in 1997 and 1998, and never since – was a promotional campaign to drive business into Birmingham’s newly regenerated town centre. It began in early November and finished in January.”

    And sorry, but I am not buying the rest of your remarks either. I have debated leading Muslims who took the same line as you have. They too gave me this spin, but I am not going to be fooled by it. There is only one true Muslim, and he/she follows faithfully the Koran, the Hadith and the Sira. Sure, there are plenty of “moderate” Muslims, but they are not genuine Muslims according to Islam itself, because they reject their very own authoritative documents and sources.

    And you do not understand how reformation works. Real reformers believe the original has been corrupted, and they want to get back to that original. That is what the Protestant Reformation was all about. But moderate Muslims who speak of reform in Islam today mean the exact opposite: moving away from the original – that is, renouncing what Muhammad said and did, and so on. But I discuss all this more fully here: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/11/30/on-reforming-islam/

    And you seem blissfully unaware (or are being not fully open with us) of basic Islamic teachings such as taqiyya, or religious deception. The Islamic agenda is to appear to want to fit in and be Western, but the goal of real Muslims remains: to see the entire Western world submit to Allah and sharia law.

    These Muslim leaders who are denouncing Christmas are acting fully in accord with their own Islamic faith. They are the ones we need to worry about, not the moderates who on rare occasion will speak out, and not just about Christmas, but things like 9/11. All I heard back then was very loud silence. Lenin used to speak about “useful idiots” who were gullible enough to swallow the claims that the Communists were for peace. We have plenty of those folks today in the West as well when it comes to Islam.

    When the real Muslims get into power in the West, as they have in other places, the first ones to lose their heads will be the moderates, followed by the useful idiots. We have 1400 years of Islamic history to draw upon here.

    Oh, and to inform people about the nature of Islam, according to its own authoritative sources, does not make me or anyone else a “Christian hater” as you put it in true dhimmi fashion. And extrapolating from your few friends to the entire Islamic community is hardly a basis of objective truth here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I read recently of a group of Islamists in the UK who put a formal request to the British Government that they section-off a part of the UK specifically for them so they could live under Sharia law. Thankfully the Muslim population in the UK is still small enough to enable the Government to reject this request.

    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to yourself and the family and all the readers.

    Mick Koster.

  • I note that the Age newspaper report also contains comment from noted members of the Australian Muslim community dissenting from the fatwa.

    The intent of orthodox Islam is the conversion of the rest of the world to follow the teachings of Muhammad. Those teachings do misunderstand the orthodox Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity and deny that Jesus is the only begotten Son of Almighty God. Therefore, no-one would expect a Muslim to affirm the teachings about Jesus Christ which are stated in the historic creeds of the Christian church.

    The above facts aside, it is true that, in the early centuries of Islam, before the Crusades, some Muslims in Syria and adjacent areas joined with their Christian neighbours in celebrating Christmas and Easter!

    John Wigg

  • I am a follower fo the teachings of the Propeht Muhammad. I respectfully wish everyone here who celebrate Jesus and all the holy messages he brought to this world a very peaceful and Merry Christmas. I celebrate Jesus too. I believe in his teachings too. We denounce this act of bigotry and extremism. For now they think they rule but fatwas are non binding legal opinions only. We are fighting them via all resources that we can. I am partof the Jewish Christian and moslem discourse group where we respectfully acknowledge the differences and do not try to justify our way upon any one else. Faith is a very personal journey between Man and God where God is the final adjudicator of human welfare.

    A Merry and peaceful Christmas to everyone here.

    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks Siti

    Yes I know you would disapprove of such fatwas, which is very good indeed. And we of course have had these discussions about Christianity and Islam before. A true follower of Muhammad of course must renounce the claims of Christ, while the true follower of Jesus must renounce the claims of Muhammad. It is impossible to hold both simultaneously. You might as well try to argue that you are both single and married at the same time. Or try to tell us that a circle is a square. Sorry, but it just cannot be done.

    The very heart and core of the Christian faith – that Jesus is God’s son, that he died for our sins on a cross, and that he rose again as our sole mediator between God and man – is of course vehemently denied by Muhammad. So at the end of the day Siti you must make a choice. If you really are a true follower of Muhammad, then you have of necessity denied Jesus and his claims. If you really are a true follower of Jesus, then you have of necessity denied Muhammad and his claims. There is no other way.

    But I speak to this in much more detail and with the scriptural evidence here:
    www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/10/24/no-islam-and-christianity-are-not-the-same/

    And here:
    www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/05/28/jesus-islam-and-false-advertising/

    So my prayers continue on your behalf, that you will choose wisely. Seeking to straddle the fence is simply not an option here. In the mean time, have a Merry Christmas, as we celebrate the birth, life and work of God’s only son and saviour Jesus Christ.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I haveread you rocmments about Isalm over and over you call us not true muslims becasue we ‘reject ‘ our own doctrines it seems. There are over 20 layers of meaning in the Koran and each verse is interpreted according to one’s limits and prejudicsms or enlighten state of being in life. The other challenge that I find as a Sufi here is that the press always covers the few that are extremist but never show us Sufi’s becasue that sells news and yes we are persecuted by the extremist Mr Muehlenberg but that doesnt make their version of Islam true. A true follower understands that islam means the constant State fo submission/surrender to God , at every beat of our hearts. When we constantly are in this State of submission, He the Almighty God ,fashions our conduct , not our own Ego. It is the teachings that our inner Jihad is to destroy our own Ego before it consumes usas shown by the manifestations of hatred in thsi world by any who oppress or kill.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks Siti

    But we of course have also had this discussion many times already on these pages. I know you are a Sufi, and as I have said often before, those Muslims who are true to the Koran, the hadith and the sira consider reformist movements such as Sufism as heretical and blasphemous. As I said in another comment above, moderates who want to reform Islam, such as Sufis, can only do it by moving in one direction: not toward real Islam, but away from it.

    You are rightly concerned about all the violence, oppression, misogyny, death, intolerance, and destruction enjoined by the life, teachings and example of Muhammad, and as codified and ratified by the Koran, the hadith, the sira, and so on. Thus your reformation attempts mean a movement away from everything about official orthodox Islam, in a direction which results in something which is no longer real Islam. That is why all true Muslims hate Sufism and other reform movements. But again, I write about this in much more detail here:

    www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/11/30/on-reforming-islam/

    As I wrote there: “To remove all the violent, anti-women, anti-Semitic, anti-freedom, anti-democracy and anti-pluralistic elements of Islam would be to destroy Islam itself. It would no longer exist. So genuine reform of Islam to make it compatible with Western freedoms, pluralism and democracy seems to be simply impossible. Indeed, Islam is considered to be a ‘perfect’ religion. How can you reform that which is perfect? To argue for reform means you consider it to be less than perfect, something the Koran clearly warns against. So it is really difficult for a true Muslim to even consider reform. Reforming Islam is a contradiction in terms according to devout Muslims.”

    But again, enjoy your Christmas, and your freedoms, brought about of course, not by intolerant Islam, but by the Judeo-Christian worldview.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thank you Mr Muehlenberg. I respect and understand your faith. if I have believed wrongly then God will adjudicate upon my life .Thank you for your prayers inspite of the fact that many muslims hurt you and the Christians very much.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks again Siti

    But the most important thing is not to wait till you stand before God to have him adjudicate as to whether you got these matters right or not. We must do that in this lifetime, because the next will be too late. God answers the prayers of the serious seeker. If you are really open to the truth of God, then read the Christian gospels carefully and prayerfully. Then compare the words and actions of Jesus with those of Muhammad as found on the Koran and Sira. After an honest and open reading of both, the contrasts will not be greater, for anyone with an open mind and a real desire to know the truth that is. Blessings again to you and yours.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Yes Mr Muehlengberg, my life here is because of the freedom and liberties fought by those who are Christians the values they live by.This intolerance is by the men who have interpreted the Koran much in their favour and nothing for anyone else. The woemn are starting to fight for their rights thereunder. As a sufi I fit in quite easily into the Judeo Chrisitan values simply because the teachings of Jesus and Moses is imperative upon me except for the fact that Jesus is son of God. However on that point I will be willing to say that if I am wrong and have erred then I will face the consequences ,Mr Meuhlenberg. In the meantime it sinot the Book that causes hatred but the hearts of men.Just one more point, the are several schools and Sufism and has been declared as one of the ones that cannot be declared heretical in the Amman message signed by most Islamic countries.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks again Siti

    Those who are the most intolerant Muslims are not of course those who wrongly interpret the Islamic faith, but those who take it with the utmost seriousness and devotion. Any straight-forward reading of and obedience to the sunnah will result in such negative outcomes. Those who do not like the intolerance and violence and hatred are the ones who must radically re-interpret things, and move away from the very heart of Islam.

    Also, as I say, the most important thing we can do in this life is make sure we are right with God. So I again commend to you the reading of the gospels. You will have to choose: is Jesus the exclusive truth, or is Muhammad? Both cannot be the truth, since their core messages and actions are fundamentally opposed to each other and contradict each other.

    But thanks again for writing. Blessings and Merry Christmas.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I do have a question for you because. If you say Jesus is the Son of God ,why then did he die? We say He is a Prophet, one of the main Prophets and immensely important to us , bestowed by God with enormous power of Miracles, but we believe he did not die but went straight to heaven. How can the Son of God die? I am asking as i wish to know this point very much.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks again Siti

    It is a very good and important question you ask. Jesus died to be our sin-bearer. He was perfect and without sin, yet we are all sinful and alienated from God. So how can we get right with a just and holy God? Sin demands a penalty (death), and we cannot pay that penalty ourselves. So God became flesh, lived amongst us, and died on our behalf, taking our just punishment upon himself, so that we do not have to face the music. All those who believe on Jesus, repent, and accept what Christ did on their behalf can find forgiveness of sin and right relationship with God.

    Those who reject Jesus and what he did for them will still have to face the penalty of their own sin, which will be eternal separation from God. It is up to us: do we accept what Jesus has done for us, repent, and seek to make Jesus lord of our life, or do we continue to reject Jesus, and insist upon being our own gods and our own lords? We all must make this most important of choices.

    As to Jesus dying, this is in part the mystery of Christian truth. The very things which Islam emphatically denies are the very things which make up the centre of Christian belief. God is one God, but a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (He is one God in three persons, not three gods – God the Father, Mary the Mother, and Jesus the Son – as Islam wrongly understands the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to be). Also, Jesus was fully God, yet when he came to earth, he was fully man: two natures in one person. Again, it is a difficult truth for any finite mind to grasp, but it is a fundamental truth of Christianity.

    Jesus in his human nature certainly died on the cross. Speaking of God dying is a different matter, and one to be approached cautiously. But that is the stuff of an article or two to properly explain. But in a nutshell that is the Christian teaching. Somehow Jesus took the penalty for our sins, and by dying in our place, he made reconciliation with God possible. That is the very core of the Christian message.

    Again, have a read on the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and see for yourself how these truths are explained. But I am happy to try to deal with more questions you might have here. They are very important issues indeed, and thank you for your openness. God always rewards the diligent seeker.

    Blessings,

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thank you Mr Muehlenberg. It is very complicated for me and I have to read and ponder this.

    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks again Siti

    It is very complicated for all of us! God became man so that we might become like him. The wonderful mystery of Christianity. But the greatest truth in the whole universe. We all must ponder it very carefully.

    Still praying for you. Many blessings,
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hello Bill and Siti, may I comment here, please ? It never ceases to amaze me to hear comments about my Faith as seen through the eyes of non-Christians. As one who was born into, raised in and accept wholeheartedly as an adult Christianity, I believe it is the best. Especially, all its different versions. Bill Muehlenberg is the most articulate Christian commentator on the social mores and aberrant behaviors of our time. If he says it is complicated and you wish to know more plus, if as you say Sufis fit in closely with Judeo Christian values – that comment in itself makes you, Siti, not a real Muslim but a seeker – why not visit a Pastor, Priest or, Minister for detailed discussions. They are totally dedicated Men of God, who will only be too happy to assist you.
    Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year with all your Family and Friends, Siti.
    Kindest regards Anna Dominguez Smith

  • Thankyou Siti Khatijah for sharing your heart as you search for truth. You brought tears to my eyes as I read your responses to Bill. Why? Because your questions were once my questions. On my road from Hinduism/Yoga to a presonal relationship with Jesus, I too had to appreciate the utter difference of all religions when compared with Jesus Christ. He is unique. He himself is the TRUTH; now that is profound and something we Christians all ponder, even probably to our last breath.
    Don’t give up; I will be praying for revelation as you keep searching for The Truth,
    Paul Reid, Melbourne

  • Thank you Mr Meuhlenberg, Mr Paul Reid and Ms. Smith.

    It never ceases to amaze me that no matter who shows disrespect to the Christians their response is always Love and kindness.

    Merry Christmas to you both and everyone.

    Siti Khatijah

  • Hallo Siti. It was good to read your civil exchange with Bill over the supremely important issue as to how we can be right with God.
    If I may briefly comment on your words : “It is very complicated for me and I have to read and ponder this.” – to which Bill gave you the essence of the Christian message called “gospel”, or Good News!
    The message of the incarnation of God to become man is indeed too difficult for us to understand – even for Christians, but that does not mean that it is not true.
    You do not have to understand fully this truth in order to become a Christian – but you do need to believe that He lived and died for sinners like you and me.

    You sound as if you are a true seeker after God and the truth, and the Bible tells us in many ways that if we seek God with ALL our hearts we will surely find Him!

    The very centre and core of the Christian message is what Bill has already mentioned – “Somehow Jesus took the penalty for our sins, and by dying in our place, he made reconciliation with God possible.”

    May I suggest to you that you take and read the Gospel of John in the New Testament and read and meditate over it, and particularly important, ask God to show you Himself as you do so. And do persevere, and not give up reading until you know Jesus as the Truth.
    May the Lord give you his light and understanding at this time. Also praying for you.
    Graham Wood (UK)

    .

  • I would like to encourage you as well Siti, as I sat and read your above conversation with Bill, I felt a strong desire by the Spirit of God to pray for you, your salvation and for God’s revelation to be made to you through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that the Lord will reveal Himself to you soon Siti. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    Steve Davis

  • And Siti: Christ died to pay the price of our sins: but, He rose again on the 3rd day after his death. He rose back to life under His own power, ie God’s power and He is truly God: part, if you will, of the Triune God. That’s what Easter is all about: .

    Jerome Gonzalez

  • Hi Bill,

    I live in Indonesia, and there are Islamic groups here who are also saying the same thing. In fact, some have gone so far as to condemn the Indonesian President (also a Muslim) for attending events associated with Christmas. The Indonesian Ulema Council has supported the move, which is a little concerning, given I think they are one of the largest Islamic bodies that issue fatwa’s.

    Source: www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/24/mui-nixes-christmas-sby.html

    Mark Topping

  • What a wonderful dialogue; God bless you Siti!

    Yes; the power of the Gospel is that God in Jesus loves us so much that he gave Himself to die for our sins, but also that He rose again from the dead. His death is beyond profound. His resurrection beyond any other display of power and hope. The results of which God invites us to enjoy. He calls us to be His children and to live in the power of His love and in the dynamic of the Holy Spirit, Who is promised to all who believe.

    How can I change subject? I feel I must though.

    It is reported that the Lakemba Mosque is distancing itself from the Fatwa. Suggesting that it was a prank and unauthorized. Will we ever get to the truth here.?

    Were they the victims of a prank?
    Was it taken out of context?
    Who exactly authorized what?
    Was this all part of having it both ways; to speak to both audiences, the true believers and the true disbelievers?
    Was this Fatwa and the withdrawal done by design to bring the true message but then to cover it with lies and denials to fool the confused.?

    Bill’s comments and clear stance on this is not pleasant and pretty hard line. It seems very unfair to say that the Muslims who protest about the Fatwa are not true to the roots and real intent of their faith. Yet how else can we understand what is going on with this?

    We as bible believing Christians put great store in understanding the depths of our source documents, the books of the Bible and the life of Jesus. May I ask a question? Is it proper for us who have that view about our Holy Book to expect that good Muslims with have the same view about their source documents and the life of Mohammed?. Is it possible that there is a cultural fundamental here that is different? eg From my observation it seems that many Muslims do not know what is in the Koran. Is that fact a cultural thing? or is it a product of the fact that it is expected that it be read in Arabic and many Muslims are functionally illiterate in Arabic?

    Or course, viewing the state of Christianity around the world, could it even be rightly said that the Muslims hold closer to their fundamentals than Christians do?

    I ask these questions because in conversations with others there is a very wide range of views about what a Muslim is supposed to believe.

    I suspect that there is a least an eight unit uni bachelors degree in this subject.

    Thanks Bill
    Bruce Knowling

  • Thanks Bruce

    No it was not a prank. They backflipped for one simple reason: the mass public outcry they were getting. But to answer your various questions, let me ask you this: Have you actually ever read the Koran? Have you read the hadiths? Have you read the official siras? If not, then you may be out of your depth here. Until you really know what Islam is all about, you will not be very clear on what is taking place here. And the 200+ articles I have on Islam here might be of some help as well in the education process.

    But thanks for sharing.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bruce, this is not a trick question but what do you mean with your comment – “Bill’s comments and clear stance on this is not pleasant and pretty hard line”? I would have thought that when Christians contend for the faith it will, by default, cause both unpleasantness for those who are not Christians and bring about accusations of bigotry, intolerance and lack of acceptance, all of these terms could be woven into the word “hardline”. We see this all the time. If we are trying to contend for the faith in an appeasing manner then the consequence of this approach is a watered down version of the Gospel which is really no Gospel at all. As for Muslims holding closer to their fundamentals than Christians do, will that bring them any closer to salvation? If anything, it might drive them further from salvation, as for those Christians who do not hold close to their fundamentals, they have a choice to make as well, whom will they serve this day? As for source documents, the Bible is a book that is absolutely hardline – either you believe all of it, or none of it – there is no middle ground, no compromise, no debate and no dissension, if a Christian does not completely accept the Bible and everything in it then he/she has to, once again, consider whom they will serve this day. Lastly, I think Bill was right on the money with his comment about those Muslims who protested at the fatwas not being true to the real intent of their faith, I do not believe he is not talking in a throw away manner here, I think he is making an observation which bears very serious thought and consideration.
    Steve Davis

  • Thanks Bill and thanks Steve.

    I did say “how else can we understand what is going on with this?” Bill’s explanation is the only one that makes sense and especially since, as Anna reminded us, of “the five stages of Islam”.

    My questions arise out of interest to see how these “five stages” are at work in OZ. Different Islamic groups seem to be at different stages. Some seem to want to present a hard line to us now, while others are very conciliatory. I would not have been surprised if some “young bucks” had stirred the pot too early. Bill says though, that it was genuine, I had no way to assess that, only having the MSM accounts readily at hand. I am surprised at how bold they are already.

    I am also “pleased” when they show their real attitude since we then have some strong evidence right now, and on our doorstep, for all the things that have been said over the years. I have a fear though that many will accept the MSM excuses and see the Fatwa as an aberration. Let me say some of my acquaintances think I am crazy taking a hard line. I wish I could find a way to talk to them without raising the temperature.

    My comments and questions about the culture of Islam arise from the common Western error of thinking that they are the same as us. They are not , we all know that. But eg When they say that they are “people of the book”, does that mean the same for them as it does for us?. -eg As Steve has spelled out in more detail.

    Bruce Knowling

  • Has been really good to read you all on this. Bill M for not weakening the position of Jesus Christ our saviour, redeemer and leader in seeking the truth. Bill G for hoping that the people who seek (thanks Siti) do not always support the institutions who seek to talk for them and that grace mercy and peace can truly come into our hearts and families this Christmas. With all the tensions it takes a real savior to move us beyond our angry reactions to the sin that so easily besets even the most blessed of times. There was both a lot of anger, but also a lot of love in our own celebrations. Trust you all can, with Christ, enjoy the grace mercy and peace of Christmas.
    John Modra

  • Fair enough Bruce, thanks for that, this is the beauty of this site, we can discuss these things in a mature and informed manner and bounce things off one another, none of us knows it all so the interaction is important. However, as confronting as it might be to people outside the church, the Gospel is a solid, immovable foundation that endures, does not sway like the wind, never changes its form or colour, in short, it is totally trustworthy and reliable and this is in part the message that we need to reflect as a part of our overall witness both in our own lives and in our words to others. I have always wondered about Christians who set out to learn about another religion to the extent that they could almost become a true expert on it, does this really help the overall picture? I tend to think not as we then become in danger of relying on our knowledge of that religion over the Gospel message. Hope this adds to the train of thought here.

    Steve Davis

  • thank you All. No it was not a prank I dont believe. It was the Australians recognising it for what it was. They will keep trying to push the limits. I do not want Australia to be harmed in any way by hard liners whose ideology harms others . Wishing another their relligious celebration is so natural. It is akin to wishing someone happiness , in that time especially.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Thanks Siti, you are in our prayers, keep your chin up mate and keep searching.
    Steve Davis

Leave a Reply