Muslims have been in the news a lot in recent days.
There has been a lot of conflict in recent weeks over some rubbish film made in California that is anti-muslim. The result has been violent protest and deaths around the world.
It was also very interesting to hear Salman Rushdie on Start the Week recently talking about going into hiding after the Satanic Verses was published in the late ’80s. He was caught up and became a pawn in international geo-politics where Iran was trying to set itself over against Saudi Arabia as the protector of Islam. It’s well worth listening to.
Then there has been the news today of Abu Hamza and some other radicals losing their appeal to stay in the country and will now face trial in the US. Now I haven’t followed the trials and debate very closely but I am concerned the way that sometimes he has been portrayed by the media. The picture that I am using as the image at the top of the post is quite a common one that is used of him. But in the context maybe it would look different? The picture below is the larger one:
It seems far more likely that he was answering questions at a press conference and was using his hook (he lost his hands and an eye during a de-mining exercise during the US backed Afghan war against Soviet occupation) to be able to see against bright lights.
This isn’t to say that he shouldn’t stand trial on terrorism charges or that he is a hugely maligned man (he has already been found guilty of soliciting murder). But I think that the charges should stand on their own merit and not hid behind making him some sort of bogeyman due to his deformities.
It is easy in all of this to take an anti-Muslim approach and to write off all Muslims and to condemn the religion of Islam as an intrinsically violent one. But that would be wrong and makes bogeymen out of a whole religion – just as it was wrong to condemn all Irish people during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. We as Christians are called to care for and value all people regardless of their race or religion. Just think of the Good Samaritan where Jesus challenges a Jewish leader to recognise the intrinsic value of someone who is a hated ancient enemy – religiously and ethnically.
Carl Medearis who has written books about Jesus and has done some great work with muslims and inter-faith understanding has just published (or re-published or re-blogged) this video entitled “When you picture Muslims is this what you think?”. Really worth watching and might make you think about how you think of Muslims.
Sorry I couldn’t embed the video.