Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Muslims

Conservative Christians seem to have a lot of opinions about Islam and our Muslim neighbors.

Those opinions are often grossly misinformed at best.

I’ve met very few conservative Christians who have spent any considerable amount of time in friendships with Muslims; it’s also true that I’ve rarely met an overly anti-Islamic conservative Christian who has studied Islam beyond reading some sketchy articles on Facebook. The net result of this is the perpetuation of stereotype, misunderstanding, and outright bearing false witness against our Muslim neighbors both here and abroad.

Case in point is a recent post from Franklin Graham, which paints an entire religion with the broad brush of stereotype:

“Since 9/11, I have been warning America about the dangers of the teachings of Islam. Followers of Islam are taught very troubling passages that encourage them to murder and maim those they refer to infidels, or nonbelievers. With the internet and social media, radicalization is only increasing—and the dangers are continuing to increase. Many times, sadly, it is the young who are pulled into these teachings that encourage murder and rape in the name of the god of Islam. We saw the results again Saturday night in London with 7 killed and more than 48 wounded by Muslim men who said this was for Allah. That is three Islamic terror attacks in the country in less than three months. The threat of Islam is real. The threat of Islam is serious. The threat of Islam is dangerous. There is cause for concern, despite what some may say. We need to pray that God would give our President, our Congress, and our Senate wisdom—and the guts to do what is right for our nation, and not what’s politically correct. My prayer is that the United States—and the UK—will wake up before it’s too late.”

In light of how my conservative brothers and sisters so often spread stereotype and misinformation; having spent several years studying Islam in seminary, and having spent time in a Muslim context both in the U.S, and overseas (I’ve even gone to my local Mosque where I was welcomed hospitably), I find myself wishing conservative Christians understood these 5 things about Muslims:

1. Muslims love Jesus.

I don’t know how to make this more clear: you can’t be a good Muslim if you don’t love Jesus. Jesus is one of the most honored people in Islam, and the Quran affirms many of the key beliefs that orthodox Christians hold dear. As I stated in a previous article on Islam:

“Islam teaches that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, that he never sinned, that he was full of the Holy Spirit, that he performed miracles including healing the sick and raising the dead, that he was a word of God, that the true Gospel was given to him, that he was miraculously taken up to heaven, that he is coming back one day to rule in peace and justice after slaying the antichrist, and that those who follow Jesus will be raised to Allah at the resurrection.”

That alone, along with our shared Scripture, makes Muslims more similar to us than any other world religion, including Judaism.

2. Muslims are some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet.

People often say to me, “Oh yeah, well go to an Islamic country and see how you’re treated.” The reality is I’ve done that and discovered that kindness and hospitality in the Muslim world far surpasses anything you’d experience in America. With all the things I was taught to fear about Muslims, the truth I discovered was that I have never experienced radical hospitality and kindness the way I do when I am among Muslims.

People who think Muslims are angry and full of hate have likely never met a Muslim, because when you do, they’ll often invite you over for dinner and treat you like an honored guest. Hospitality toward strangers is one of the most prominent attributes you’ll experience in the Muslim world.

3. Most Muslims do not view Christians or Jews as “infidels”, nor are they instructed to kill us.

The idea that Christians and Jews are “infidels” is inconsistent with mainstream Islam, and so is the idea that Muslims are to kill us. The Quran doesn’t refer to us as infidels (mushrikin) at all, but actually refers to us as “people of the book” (Ahl al-Kitab). Were a Muslim to call Christians or Jews infidels, this would place them outside of the mainstream. All religions have their extremists, but that doesn’t mean they represent the whole.

Moreover, the Quran doesn’t issue a blanket injunction to kill all unbelievers (mushrikin). Yes, it records some ancient warfare where mushrikin were to be killed, but this would be the equivalent to the Old Testament recording an injunction that Israel was to take the land and slaughter even the women and children who got in their way.

Disturbing? Certainly. But to act like the Quran teaches Muslims to slaughter all infidels today, would be the equivalent of saying that the Christian Bible commands us to slaughter and destroy anyone who is occupying the land of Israel, simply because we find that in the Old Testament. (Oh, wait- now that I think about that, we as Christians actually do often support that.)

4. Killing innocent people, and being a suicide bomber, are both actions that the Islamic religion forbids.

Does Islam teach it’s okay to kill innocent people? No, it doesn’t. In fact the Quran actually says this: “Whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

Furthermore, the entire idea of being a suicide bomber as a way to martyrdom is at complete odds with Islam, as the Quran teaches that Muslims must not kill oneself (surah 4:29, and 2:195).

5. Muslims are most often the victims of terrorism.

If folks like Franklin Graham were correct, and if terrorism is all about Muslims hating us, we would expect to see “freedom-loving Christians” as being the typical victims of terrorism– but that’s not the case. The typical victims of terrorism are Muslims– we just don’t see it because seven people killed in London gets more air time than when 60 Muslims are blown up in Kabul.

Muslims, instead of being the average terrorist, are actually the average victims of terrorism.

We should be coming along side our Muslim neighbors, we should grieve with them, and support them– because they are under attack from extremists more than anyone else.

For all the harsh and broad brush opinions on Muslims and the religion of Islam, it’s tragic that so many conservative Christians base their opinions on very little fact or first-hand knowledge or experience.

Having spent so much time studying Islam and spending time with real-life, flesh-and-blood Muslim neighbors, I grieve over that fact– because my Muslim neighbors are actually the kindest, most hospitable people I know.

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Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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  • The Jesus of the Bible is not the Jesus of the Quran. Benjamin L Corey knows that. Salvation is through the redeeming work of Jesus, the Son of God, alone. Nice Muslims are the same as nice Hindus and nice atheists. If you love the Muslim, have the courage to tell him the truth.

  • So in general muslims are peaceful nice people? So how do you account for the lynchings in Pakistan for blasphemers and women who want education or to love someone not approved by the populous. They lynchers are the majority and not a few radicalized unhappy teenagers.

    • Yeah, because Christians are such “nice” people. Not.

      Google how Christians are killing people in Africa right now, but you know let’s all blame the Muslims

  • Here we go again!! Number one- you keep labeling Christians as haters of muslims!!! Do you know every Christian? Your labeling us Christians the same way as you accusing us of labeling Muslims. Doesn’t matter what faith religion or non believer there are good and bad people in humanity!!! So stop saying Christians don’t understand muslims. Next time you want to critize a Christian go out to a church and meet some!ll

  • I am Buddhist, living in Alabama. I have been harassed and even threatened by Conservative Christians. My car was keyed and I found a note saying, “Get out of this complex before you bring the Wrath of God down on us, you idol worshiper.” The note was on the letterhead of a local Evangelical Church. My upstairs neighbor is Muslim. He came outside and was shocked by what had happened. He told me not to listen to people who don’t understand other people’s religion. He even thanked me for hanging prayer flags to bless everyone in the complex. Later that day, his wife came down and brought cookies. Her teenage son was outside with GX21 trying to wax out the key marks. I have found more acceptance from the Muslim Community than I have any Christian group.

  • Many, many writers about Islam, many many refugees from Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, etcetera, have noted that when Islam achieves sociopolitical dominance, it is mysogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, aggressive against other religions, and triumphalistic. Secular observers have noted this. Persons reared as Muslims themselves have written about it. This article is a whitewash.

    • Do you know what happened to the faith in Jesus when the early church got in bed with the Roman Empire in the 4th century?
      Our how does our American Empire deal with Jesus’ teachings like “love your enemies,” “Do not Judge” or “Give to everyone who begs from you?”

      Are you aware that the New Testament describes a Jesus in bloody robes that slaughters the unfaithful like a divine ethnic cleanser?
      And that the resulting blood and gore “reaches the height of a horse’s bridle for a distance of 200 miles?”

    • so is Christianity all of the above if interpreted by wrong-headed or religiously motivated parties… For example, the Evangelical Movement is all of the above and then some. These narrow-minded preachers of any faith do more damage than good.

  • You’d think more people would be reading and studying the Qur’an today, but we should admit that there is a deliberate plan by many to keep us in the dark about Islam today. The religion makes a great scapegoat and serves many people well for ginning up fear and alarm and blaming it on a religion.

    The Qur’an actually says nothing about 72 virgins, shariah law, women’s dress codes. It says more about Jesus, Mary, Moses, Abraham and Jacob–to name only a few names from the Christian Bible.

    “The most excellent jihad is that for the conquest of self.”
    –Muhammed

    “You hypocrite! Look to the log in your own eye before you deem to point out the tiny speck of sawdust in your neighbor’s.”
    –Jesus of Nazareth

    The Christian New Testament is anti-Semitic and portrays a jealous, violent God. Jesus [of “love your enemies” and “do not judge” fame] wears blood-soaked robes and slaughters the unfaithful until the level of the blood and gore “reaches the height of a horse’s bridle for a distance of 200 miles [The Book of Revelation]. And in the Gospel according to John, the author has inserted some vitriolic anti-Jewish rhetoric in the mouth of Jesus himself. This was because when John was written, many Jews who were following Jesus were being kicked out of the synagogues and John’s community of believers wanted their revenge.

    They wanted a Jesus who spoke to them and their own concerns, so they fashioned one.

  • Stop saying that muslims are hospitable; so are christians, hindus, budists, voodoo worshipers, pagans, atheists, dogs, cats, sheeps etc, etc , etc. It is a dumb argument. Better talk about abrogation, about why the last part of the Quoran calls for violence against people that do not believe in Allah including Jews and Christians. Talk about the open command to kill unbelievers and if so desired to extend grace upon them and allow them to live with conditions. Talk about why this religion expanded through violence from the outset unlike christianity. The christian bible calls for the abrogation of the Law where all the troubling commands to kill the adulterer, homosexual and others was proclaimed to be obsolete and not to be followed. Is there something similar in the Quoran? If the life of Muhammad is the perfect life to be emulated by all muslims how can you expect muslims to be peaceful in the end? The guy had an army and killed in his own time to extend the religion. Compare that with the life of Jesus who preached non violence to the point that he scolded the one that used violence to protect him. Also, do you actually think that what Israel is doing is genocide?? Well that about explains your article!!! Disgusting…………….

    • Sure, as if Christians don’t kill in they name of their religion.

      Oh wait, they do. Don’t act like they are such innocent people.

  • Psalm 83:1 O God, do not keep silence;
    do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
    2
    For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
    those who hate you have raised their heads.
    3
    They lay crafty plans against your people;
    they consult together against your treasured ones.
    4
    They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
    let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
    5
    For they conspire with one accord;
    against you they make a covenant—
    6
    the tents of Edom and the ISHMAELITES*(*having to do with the Muslims*)*,
    Moab and the Hagrites,
    7
    Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
    Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
    8
    Asshur also has joined them; -[ESV
    ***
    Google:
    Islam. Ishmael is recognized as an important prophet and patriarch of Islam. Muslims believe that Ishmael was the firstborn of Abraham, born to him from his second wife Hagar. Ishmael is recognized by Muslims as the ancestor of several prominent Arab tribes and being the forefather of Muhammad

    JW short article on ‘Ishmaelites’:
    https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200002216

  • Sir, you are merely another apologist naive Christian. I do not entirely dispute what you think you are saying, but you are missing a few key points – ones you cannot defend: Our country was founded on complete and total (that’s the goal anyways) separation of Church and State. Islam at it’s fundamental core IS the State. It is a way of life, governed by the Muslim hierarchy which again, IS the State (uhhhhh look at the Middle East, kind of where all that is ya know?) Of course not all Muslims want to hurl gays “from the highest place in the City” and/or Stone them to death (if they can make up their minds) – or lop folks heads off for degrading the Quran – but that brings me to my 2nd key point: Peaceful law abiding Muslims have NEVER demonstrated throughout history the ability to CONTAIN the very radical elements you are defending. That’s why THEY are HERE. They then choose to not assimilate to our Western culture and values. Why is that? THEY prefer to bring their third world stone age way of life HERE because that is their Islam. They do not, will not or cannot DIE fighting for their own countries and peaceful lives, preferring instead to allow their three year olds to wash up on foreign shores and somehow blame the West for not wanting to be over run by their shear fleeing numbers. RIght now Dearborn, MI is enjoying their own little Muslim social experiment. Let’s sit back and see how that runs it’s course…….over TIME friend. Oh and you left out the part where Jesus, (considered as a Muslim), will abide by the Islamic teachings after he slays “the devil”. And there will be but ONE community, that of ISLAM.

    • What makes you think Christians aren’t capable of making the western world a Christian state? It has happened in the past and it probably will happen again.

      Do you really think Christians assimilate? No, they want everyone to be Christian. Christianity came from a third world stone age time too. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam came from the same man: Abraham. They all worship the same God.

      They are fleeing their countries because our country is bombing innocent men, women, and children.

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