taking the words of Jesus seriously

In the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, many Muslim organizations and individuals are once again rushing to strongly denounce terrorism.

In Manchester itself, Muslims not only renounced the actions of the terrorist, they were also among the first to come to the aid of the victims. The leader of the Muslim Council of Britain said, “This is horrific, this is criminal. May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next.” Condemnations like this are not exceptions, they are the norm among leading Muslim organizations.

Yet I continue to hear and read statements like the one that appeared on my Facebook page this morning: “It is difficult to catch a Muslim renouncing ISIS.”

Really? One teenager has developed a spreadsheet featuring Muslim condemnations of terror, with more than 5,000 statements on a document that is now over 700 pages long. It’s as easy to find official Muslim condemnations of terrorism as it is to Google “Muslims condemn terror.” If a teenager can find so many clear statements of condemnation, one would think others could find them too.

READ: Beyond Tolerance: Honoring the Call to Love Your Neighbor

For example, Iyad Ameen Madani, the former Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (a group representing 57 countries and 1.4 billion Muslims) called the ISIS kidnapping and execution of Christians “a crime which cannot be tolerated.” Furthermore, he denounced ISIS saying that it had, “nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

While it’s not hard to find Muslims denouncing terrorism, it is difficult to drown out the voices meant to scare and misleads us otherwise.

George Washington (not THAT George Washington!) wrote,

“ABC News’ Laura Ingraham, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Fox & Friends and other U.S. media commentators say that Muslims are silent and complicit in the barbarian crimes of ISIS. Fox News host Andrea Tantaros said that all Muslims are the same as ISIS, and implied that all Muslims should be met ‘with a bullet to the head.’”

Washington went on to imply that voices like these actually share responsibility for fomenting a state where extremism can thrive. Such statements actually aid terrorists.

In the 10 Commandments — God’s Top Ten list of things to do or to avoid — God commands us not to bear false witness. Bearing false witness includes spreading information about others that is not true. God strongly condemns such statements because of the damage that they inflict upon others.

Consider Exodus 23:1 which reads, “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” When we repeat Laura Ingraham’s latest rant about Muslims never condemning terrorism, we are joining hands with a person of malicious intent. God says, “Stop that!”

Or reflect on Proverbs 25:18, “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.” According to scripture, when Sean Hannity knowingly shares such false information, he engages in a form of verbal violence.

My intent is not to propagate Islam. I am deeply committed to my faith in Jesus Christ.

My goal is to propagate truth, to stand beside my Muslims friends insisting that people like Hannity and Ingraham quit harming them in the name of Christ. (Both Hannity and Ingraham claim to be Christians, with Ingraham often wearing a cross while she speaks.) As Christians, we have a duty to be truthful in our judgments and to stand up to the terror of false reports and self-serving tirades that drive up ratings while putting Muslims at risk.

About The Author

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Following a 30-year career in Higher Education, Carl spent two years mobilizing Christians to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, also launching a nonprofit in his city (Springfield, Ohio) to advocate for it’s growing population of Latino and Muslim immigrants. He currently serves as Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church, a church featured in a CBS Faith in America documentary for its efforts to build bridges with Muslim neighbors. His church is currently developing a website called BeyondTolerance.info to help correct misconceptions about Christianity and Islam.

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