Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Zionists Converting Muslims to ... Christianity!

The JPost has all the lurid details of this heinous conspiracy:

THE RECENT visit of the American televangelist Josh McDowell, invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received by King Mohammed VI, has sparked lots of conspiracy theories. In fact, Le Journal Hebdomadaire reported on January 8 that this evangelization campaign was part of US President George W. Bush's campaign in the current war. Unsurprisingly, the article pointed out that this was also the goal of the neocons and the Zionists.
OK, that was a lame attempt at humor taking my cue from the irony already noted by CUANAS and Dhimmi Watch. But the article actually highlights some good news:
In the past few years, increasing numbers of Westerners have been converting to Islam. Agence France Presse recently reported annual figures in France alone of 30,000 to 50,000. But a new phenomenon – largely unreported in the Western media – is occurring: Muslims, especially in the Maghreb (north-west Africa) are becoming Christians.


According to most reports, the culprits are American evangelical missionaries operating in major cities such as Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech and Fez to remote areas in the mountains or the countryside.

The statistics differ wildly: Missionaries are reported to number anywhere from 150, according to French weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur, to the 800-plus figure most often used. Converts are said to number anywhere from 7,000 to 58,000. These discrepancies are easily explained by the fact that both missionaries and converts have to stay constantly below the radar.


CLEARLY, THE evangelists are focusing their energies on the young and the poor, but that's not the whole picture. Another target, according to Pastor Jean-Luc Blanc are the intellectuals and the privileged. However, there is no typical profile of a convert. On March 5, the French daily Le Monde published numerous interviews with converts in Morocco and Algeria.
A large part of the good news here is that this is actually being reported. (And in Le Monde of all places!) But the high point of the article for me is the concluding paragraphs:
Another convert in his 30s, Abu Ghali, pointed out that most conversions are initiated by Moroccans themselves and added: "If Moroccans are given the opportunity to compare and choose, then you'll see lots of them going towards Christianity."


The Arab press has been quick to accuse the US evangelists for the massive conversion numbers, therefore playing into the hands of the Islamists who advocate an end to the semi-freedom of religion in Morocco. But this assumption is wrong because as many observers emphasized, some Muslims are disillusioned by the crimes committed in the name of Islam, especially in Algeria by the Islamists and al-Qaida's terrorist acts and are looking for something else.
This is the sort of angle we should be going for: the superiority of Christian truth over false religions. Compared side to side Christianity cannot help but beat out the competition (and this is true even in countries where martyrdom is the likely result of conversion). This style of thinking is in line with Augustine's approach in The City of God (especially books 6-10) where he exposes the shamefulness of most pagan religions and their inability to offer hope even at their best (i.e. Pythagoras and Plato). We would do well to emphasize the distinction between Christianity and the world in our own churches rather than accomodating to the existing culture through "seeker sensitive" programs.

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