Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

"Anti-hate" protests point the way to peace

Roland Clarke

On August 26th 2017 500 people gathered outside city hall London, Ontario, in opposition to 30 people marching in support of Patriots of Canada Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA). Four weeks later, these groups clashed again as PEGIDA held another rally. The counter-protesters accused PEGIDA of hating Muslims, being racists and white supremacists, etc. It is so easy to accept a journalist's interpretation or slant on events and thus judge a book by its cover. One wonders how many people who read these news reports bothered to check PEGIDA Canada's website to see what they believe in terms of helping refugees.1 How many people pause to consider if it is wise to continue permitting throngs of refugees to enter Canada in spite of the serious flaws in the vetting procedure? It is understandable that some Canadians are deeply concerned that if the government does not re-examine their immigration policy and tighten the loop-holes, sooner or later, we will experience serious problems as is now happening in several countries in Europe.

It is not my intention, in this short article, to resolve these complex issues nor is this the place to discuss whether PEGIDA Canada places too much emphasis on security concerns. Considering how deeply polarized our world is, my concern is to suggest simple steps to finding peace.


It is no secret that the mainstream media along with many ordinary North Americans who've been open or helpful to newcomers are now worried that growing numbers of fellow citizens are becoming suspicious or even prejudiced against refugees, especially Muslims. This trend correlates somewhat with concerns of conservatively inclined people like PEGIDA. You may be surprised, however, to learn that certain Muslim leaders have voiced concerns similar to PEGIDA Canada, for example, Salim Mansur, a Muslim professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario. He has warned Canadians that Islamists and Jihadists are trying to leverage mass migration of Muslims as a tactic for introducing Shariah and eventually even trying to impose it on western societies.2 Neither is Mansur the only one who dares to voice such concerns. Yahya Cholil Staquf, the general secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, has also spoken out strongly, exposing the error of politically correct thinking. He admits that there is, indeed, a link between violence and orthodox Islam.3

Meanwhile the winds of political change have recently put conservative governments in power in America and Great Britain. Regardless how one views these trends, the fact is: the world is becoming more polarized and Islam is a significant contributing factor.

How should God-fearing people respond?

Allow me to make a broad observation: Muslims and Christians, who represent the two largest faiths, should be deeply concerned seeing that relations between us are more tense than ever. Admittedly, the terms “Christian” and “Muslim” are somewhat vague, however, I think you understand what I'm driving at. The growing gap between Muslms and (so-called) Christians is evident when we look at recent surveys in England and USA. A new survey of Americans by Baylor University was summarized last week in The Washington Post (September 7th 2017). Americans were asked how they perceived their fellow citizens as explained in the article, titled, Evangelicals fear Muslims; atheists fear Christians: New poll shows how Americans mistrust one another.4

What about Great Britain? Polls conducted there, as recently as two and four years ago, consistently show that half the population do not think Islam is compatible with British values.5, 6

Considering the increasing polarization as it relates to Muslims and Christians, I would encourage all of us to take a closer look at Jesus Christ, the “servant” of the Lord, whom the prophets called Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Are you aware that the ahadith acknowledges Al Masihu Isa (Jesus) as an exceptional peacemaker?7 Also we read in the Injil (Gospel) that Jesus valued peace saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9, NIV) Not only did Christ urge his followers to be peace-makers, he led by example. John chapter four shows how he mediated between Samaritans and their Jewish cousins who had engaged in heated debates for centuries. These clashes between religious leaders caused feelings of mistrust and dislike to spread through their respective communities. Coincidentally or providentially, while I was writing this article, the world celebrated the 23rd September as "Peace Day." I cannot help but feel this makes my focus on peace all the more fitting.

Note: I have appended the story of Christ's encounter with the Samaritans as found in John chapter four (the Injil) in case you would like to read it. If this article has helped you gain a clearer picture of Jesus as Prince of Peace or if it raises questions that you want to discuss feel free to write me here.

Appendix: John 4:3-42 (NIV)

So he [Jesus] left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

Many Samaritans Believe

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Food for thought based on the terms salvation and Saviour (in verses 22 and 42)

The Samaritans used the same name for God as the Jews, i.e. Yahweh, yet Jesus said they didn't really “know” him. They didn't understand salvation which comes through the Jews since the Messiah is Jewish. According to the Bible and the Qur'an God's angel instructed Mary/Maryam to name her virgin born son – Jesus. Of course, God chose this name purposely, not randomly. If you don't understand why God chose this particular name I suggest you meditate on Isaiah 49:6 which foretells that God's special “servant,” the Messiah, will “bring his salvation to the ends of the earth.” You can find a fuller discussion of this in the article, titled, Signposts to Paradise which is available online here.

Other articles relevant to this topic

A friend recently posted a story on his blog that shows some practical examples of how to engage unbelievers in seasoned-with-salt conversational witness using current events such as the anti-hate protest on August 26 in London. Interestingly, PEGIDA is holding another rally Sept 23rd, exactly one month after the first one which evoked an intense backlash. My friend's blog post, titled, How Headline News Translates to Good News, can be found here.

You may like to read two other articles on peacemaking. One titled, Messiah the Peacemaker, is available online.

Another titled, Converging Destinies: Jerusalem, Peace and the Messiah, is also available online.

Two days ago the news agent “ and agencies” reported, “The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has filed an indictment in the Federal Criminal Court against three committee members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS). The OAG alleges that the accused broke federal laws banning support for Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and associated organizations.”

This indictment illustrates why PEGIDA Canada is so concerned. If this indictment is upheld by the Federal Criminal Court it would show how three “moderate” Muslim leaders in a western nation are supporting Al Qaeda, a Muslim terrorist organization. What is the Islamic Central Council? They describe themselves as Switzerland's largest Islamic organization and thus claim to represent Muslims in that country. As such, the ICCS corresponds to MCB - the Muslim Council of Britain and CAIR in America - Council of American Islamic Relations. One needs to be careful not to accuse PEGIDA of portraying all Muslim leaders in western nations as being “wolves in sheep skin.” They believe it is important for Canadian law makers and civil authorities to exercise discernment and vigilance.


1 In all fairness we should note that on PEGIDA Canada's website their first two policy statements read: 1) PEGIDA is FOR the admission of genuine war refugees and political refugees or those who suffer religious persecution. 2) PEGIDA is FOR the INTEGRATION of refugees into our land and culture. Therefore, whoever labels them as "racists and white supremacists" are misrepresenting and slandering them.

2 On March 1st 2014 the Ottawa Citizen carried an article summarizing a debate on Muslim immigration between Salim Mansur and Douglas Sanders. See:

3 In an Interview, Top Indonesian Muslim Scholar Says Stop Pretending That Orthodox Islam and Violence Aren't Linked

5 On June 9th 2016 the Express published an article titled, More than half of Britons surveyed think Islam is NOT compatible with British values.

6 On the 3rd July 2015 the Huffington Post published an article titled, 7/7 Bombings Anniversary Poll Shows More Than Half Of Britons See Muslims As A Threat

7 Islamic sources confirm that the Messiah’s coming will abolish Jihad; “Sayyidina Salamah bin Nufayl has said that the messenger of Allah said, ‘The (command of) Jihad will not be abolished until the descent of Isa Ibn Maryam.’ (Seerat al-Mughlata', Musnad Ahmad)” (Mufti Mohammad Shafi in ‘Signs of Qiyamah and the Arrival of the Maseeh’, p. 109) Consider also how the Bible and Hadith agree in regards to the peace that will prevail under the Messiah’s reign where “the wolf and the lamb will live together ... [and] The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.” Amazingly, these two Messianic prophecies from Isaiah 11:6-8 are echoed in authoritative Muslim Ahadith (Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah as quoted by Mufti Mohammad Shafi in ‘Signs of Qiyamah and the Arrival of the Maseeh’, p. 38, p. 78, Hadith #13)

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