Sharing Jesus with Muslims in America
David W. Virtue recently interviewed Abu Daoud (a nom de plume) on the publication of his new book. He is a scholar and cross-cultural worker and an evangelical Anglican
VIRTUE: Congratulations on the publication of your new book! Tell us about it. Why did you write this book?
DAOUD: I was speaking with a colleague in South Asia some time ago and we were both disheartened about our experiences when speaking in American churches. We felt like the churches of the USA needed a solid, easy-to-read, practical book on sharing the Gospel with local Muslims. So he, a Baptist missionary, and I, an Anglican, worked together on this.
For security reasons I could not use my birth name on the book, and he decided not to be listed as an author at all. Between the two of us you have over three decades of cross-cultural ministry experience though. I decided to use the name Abu Daoud since I’ve been using that name with my blog and other publications (also here) for a long time.
VIRTUE: Are the isolated (but heavily covered by the media) attacks in the West the final gasp of ISIS?
DAOUD: No, I don’t think so. The Islamic State may be uprooted from its homeland in Syra-Iraq, but it won’t go away. The 20th Century witnessed a number of reform movements in Islam, for example the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and lastly the Islamic State. I’ve spoken at churches in the USA where people told me the Muslim world needs a Protestant Reformation, like we had in the 16th Century. They had it! Just like Luther and Cranmer wanted to return to the purity of the early Church, that is precisely what Qutb of the Brotherhood and Zawahiri of Al Qaeda and Al Baghdadi of the IS set out to do, but with Islam.
VIRTUE: What will we find in Sharing Jesus with Muslims in America that is not already available?
DAOUD: The book is a quick and easy read, and we’ve received very positive feedback so far. This book has a hopeful voice. Christians in the USA are often not sure what to make of our quickly growing Muslim population. And guess what, it ain’t gonna stop growing! We give a gospel-centered, confident approach that will help individual Christians share Jesus in the context of personal friendship. We also have a whole chapter on what churches can do to reach out to local Muslim populations. David, we are living in a unique time when Muslims are more open to the Gospel than ever. We shouldn’t ignore them. We shouldn’t fear them.
VIRTUE: You have traveled and ministered over the years in every continent (minus Antarctica). Could you give us a global perspective on whether Islam will be able to establish a caliphate?
DAOUD: No, I don’t think so. At least not within this century. The Westphalian world order of nation states is too deeply entrenched. I do think that substantial areas of West Europe will be under the shari’a to some degree within the next few decades. Shari’a courts already exist throughout the UK and Canada and parts of the USA.
VIRTUE: Yes, let’s talk more about that–about what you call the Islamization of Europe in your book.
DAOUD: have a big section in the book about Islamization in the West. The book is primarily for an American audience, but I do think that it can be used in much of Europe as well, so I wanted to include some info on Europe too.
The issue with Europe is that it has lost its will to live. Post-modern Europe (and N America could be included here to some degree) offers no vision of the good life. What is life for? What is goodness? Why be good? Why prefer truth over lies? Why marry? Why procreate? Our secular age can only answer these questions by saying, well, if you think it will bring meaning to you, then do it. If you don’t want to, then don’t.
Traditional, reformed Islam (which I write about more here) often does have a violent edge to it. Not always, but I don’t think you can ever entirely get rid of it because Islam is all about Muhammad. But Islam, unlike postmodern Europe, does offer meaning and order. It makes sense of family, children, masculinity, history, and the future, all in a way that postmodernism does not.
Now Christianity can do that to, but so much of Christianity in America has drunk the Kool-Aid and is unable to understand, much less communicate, the Christian worldview. Islam was made by men, for men. In Islam, Allah cherishes the masculinity and energy of men. Christians used to have the priesthood for that, but, well, you figure it out.
I do believe that future generations will look at Angela Merkel and say, “My God, she destroyed Germany.”
VIRTUE:What is the future of Christianity in the Middle East?
DAOUD:There is a growing community of Christians in the Middle East–converts from Islam. But overall, the picture is very sad. Christians are emigrating from most every country in the region. If you want to see Christianity growing, support the Christian schools and businesses in the region, and support the work of ministers (like my family, among others) who are sharing the Gospel with Muslims and equipping others to do the same.
I just saw yesterday in TIME magazine that after China the country that sends the most foreign university students to the USA is Saudi Arabia. You have the chance in the USA to reach those men. It’s not easy. It’s not fast. But with the power of God’s Spirit, it can be done!
VIRTUE: Can moderate Islamists co-exist with Christians?
DAOUD: The Muslim world is trying to figure out what moderate Islam is. I don’t really know what that means. Does it mean Islam without shari’a? Then it’s not Islam anymore. Does it mean a-political Islam? Islam is and always has been an empire and legal system as well a religion. Like the Ayatollah said, “Islam is politics, or it’s not Islam.”
But we certainly can form relations with Muslims in America. You may be worried about cultural queues and what is appropriate or not. Well, get the book because we cover all that. In the end, if you are acting out of love and charity then any missteps will be forgiven.
Just start praying every morning, “Lord, give me a Muslim friend.” Not the most eloquent prayer, I know, but just do it. Let God surprise you!
VIRTUE: Should America be afraid of Syrian refugees?
DAOUD: I’m not worried about the first generation much. Terrorism seems to flourish in the second generation–among those who were brought as little children or were born in the USA, or Europe for that matter. The first generation is usually thankful to be out of Syria or Afghanistan or whatever. Some members of the second generation feel alienated. Some of them don’t feel at home in the West, but they don’t have those terrible memories of living through the violence of Islam.
If you’re worried about this, reach out to the first generation and their kids, and invite them to know God in Christ. Get inVIRTUEved in refugee settlement. That whole thing that Mr. Trump said about keeping Muslims out of the USA–never gonna happen.
VIRTUE: Isn’t it true though that some Muslims really are the enemies of freedom? That some of them want to subvert the Constitution and hate what American stands for?
DAOUD: Yes, it is true. But if you are Christian, you have clear instructions about how to deal with your enemies: love your enemies, bless those who curse you.
You can purchase a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Sharing-Jesus-Muslims-America-Daoud/dp/1539013251/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476800891&sr=8-1&keywords=abu+daoud
Abu Daoud is a cross-cultural worker with years of experience in the Middle East. He has recently published a book titled Sharing Jesus with Muslims in America (Northumberland Press, 2016). He can be contacted via his blog, islamdom.blogspot.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org