The second bridge is love and friendship: A missionary friend was comparing responses to a couple of petitions currently going around Christian circles. One had to do with correct translation of scripture on a website called, “Biblical missiology” and the other called “the radical love campaign.” At last count, the call for correct theology had garnered over eleven thousand signatures, whereas the latter only four hundred and thirty-one, although it was hoped they would have one hundred thousand by March/12. He said this is very said because it’s easy for us to criticize each other in standing up for the truth, but difficult to love Muslims.
Few of us seem willing and able to form friendships with Muslims or to get to know what Islam is all about. In a survey conducted by Pew Forum in September of 2007, the analysis of a questionnaire brought forth an interesting statistic: Fifty-eight percent of Americans “know little to nothing about Islam’s practices. Interestingly enough, this number represents little change since September 11, 2001.
We fear people we do not know, and when it comes to Muslims, people who are most fearful are usually those who have never met a Muslim and instead rely on media, current events, or other sources for their understanding of Muslims. Folks tend to demonize others they do not know, but when they have Muslim friends, sit with them, and talk with them, they realize Muslims are some of the nicest people in the world.
Pew found a major factor identified as affecting one’s attitude was whether or not they actually knew a Muslim. While age, education, and knowledge of Islam were also identified as key factors in shaping one’s view of Muslims, those who knew a Muslim held the most favorable view of Muslim-Americans (seventy-four percent). Hence, there is not so much a clash of civilization as there is a clash of stereotypes and a clash of ignorance.
One friend understands all too well that for the most part Muslim women can only be reached through the efforts of Christian women. She estimates that Muslim women standing side-by-side would encircle the globe eleven times, whereas the line of Christian women trying to reach them would only stretch eighty-three miles. Her point is that more Christian women need to come forward who will reach out to Muslim women, otherwise they will never be won for Christ. We tend to either stare when we see a veiled woman or look the other way and Muslim women say it bothers them that few Americans look them in the eye. So this sister has started a campaign, called: “Say Hello.” She says God brought Muslims to the West so we need to smile, look friendly, and just say hello.