It is shocking to hear, as we now do with increasing frequency, that millions of Middle-Eastern Muslims hate the West, and the USA in particular. Political correctness says they hate us because they disaprove of democracy, capitalism, and "the American way of life." That is a convenient answer that lets us say "tut, tut," and go on feeling good, but it is also wrong. In fact, widespread Muslim animosity toward us is grounded in Islamic religious conviction. But do not Islam and Christianity share much in common?

Well, yes and no. They both teach that there is only one God (the word for "God" in Arabic is "Allah," used by Moslems and many Christians alike), and that people should submit to him, but then their paths divide. Islam says that Jesus was a prophet of God, was virgin-born, and ascended to heaven, but it denies that he is God's Son, that he died on the cross, or was raised from the dead. Muslims say that Jesus will come again -- to convert the world to Islam. Islam teaches a heaven and hell, but it bases both destinies wholly on human merit. Still, these are not the reasons that so many Muslims hate the West.

Their hatred stems, first, from the presence of "infidel" (nonbelievers in Islam) military troops in Muslim countries, which Muslims see as gross sacrilege. Second, Muslims abhor the lewd and decadent lifestyle that characterizes Western television, movies, music and fashions -- which Muslims see invading their own countries despite their efforts to keep these out. Third, Muslims consider any land ever inhabited by Muslims as the rightful inheritance of Muslims forever.

Since Muslims occupied the land known today as Israel and Palestine at various times from the eighth century after Christ until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947, Muslim logic concludes that Israelis are unlawful occupiers of Muslim territory, and that the U.S.A. is an equally guilty co-conspirator. I totally and unequivocally reject Muslim logic in this regard, but no good is served by closing our eyes and wishing that it did not exist.


Several million Muslims in countries across the Middle East hate America. One of their complaints is that the American culture portrayed in movies and on television is corrupting the morals of their youths. Of course, millions of Americans bear no resemblance to the media version in question, but our world neighbors do not know that. In fact, the media stereotype of Americans as a people consumed with drugs, sex, and booze--or, equally misguided, with materialism, self-centeredness and entertainment, violates and contradicts Christ's call to us as his disciples also. When I make a Muslim's acquaintance, I think it good to point that out (while also listening respectfully as my acquaintance explains that not all Muslims are terrorists).

The chance that we will have a Muslim acquaintance is increasing steadily. Although Muslim activists claim to represent six million or more U.S. Muslims, experts say those numbers are grossly exaggerated. A 2009 Pew Report is likely close to reality in saying that 2.5 million Muslims lived in the U.S. at that time, or one person out of every 125. The ratio in the U.K. is greater by 350%. Are Muslims by definition dangerous terrorists? Absolutely not. The Qur'an calls for jihad ("struggle"), which to pious Muslims describes the ongoing struggle of each individual to do what is right and not the wrong. Terrorists who equate jihad with murder do violence to their own scriptures.

As a teenager, I once observed a fundamentalist Baptist preacher leading the invocation for a large outdoor rally of the Ku Klux Klan. Scripture speaks of "our battle" and urges us to "fight the good fight," but whatever wickedness is done by the KKK, armed militias, or hatemongering "preachers" cannot rightly be blamed on the Bible or on genuine Christianity. Nor is it fair to put upright, reverent Muslims in the same class with murderous zealots who misuse the Qur'an for their own purposes. (continued)

Copyright 2010 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby given to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail without change and without financial profit.