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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Interfaith dialogue, Islamic-style

An unintentionally funny article in the Arab News by "Islamic scholar" Zeinul Abideen Al-Rikabi:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has urged Muslims to learn about Christian culture. This appeal, diplomatic as it is, is based on the assumption that Muslims are ignorant of Christianity, or at least know very little about it.

...Global human acquaintance and interaction is something endorsed by the Qur’an, and learning of the cultures of other nations is a primary asset among others.
So al-Rikabi goes on to prove the archbishop's point:
It is mentioned in the Qur’an: “And say we believe in God, the revelation given to us, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, as well as what was revealed to Moses and Jesus and all messengers of God. We draw no distinction between them and we submit to God.” As the verse states, belief in God and His Holy Books is contingent on belief in Jesus and his Bible. It is also mentioned in the Hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in One Allah and that He has no partner, and that Muhammad is His servant and prophet, and that Jesus is His servant and prophet and His Word spoken unto Mary, and that God sent the Holy Ghost to him, and that Heaven is true and Hell is true; Allah will admit him into Heaven for whatever good deeds he has done.” As a result of this, Muslims possess broad and profound knowledge of Jesus and Christianity. This knowledge incorporates the belief that Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) preached a system of values, concepts, ethics, virtues, and teachings and tenaciously pursued its instillation in society and in human conscience.

The following are examples of these principles, concepts, and values that Muslims learn from the Qur’an:....

So this Islamic scholar is saying that, while Muslims do need to learn about other cultures according to the Koran, they already know everything they need to know about Christianity - from the Koran!

This is classic: a Muslim pretends to be interested in "interfaith dialogue" but he is only interested in proselytizing his religion as he pays lip service to another.

See also this posting about the Muslim concept of "dialogue."