Friday, August 04, 2006


Today, for the first time, I experienced actual hatred for another religion. Not disapproval of one of its followers nor disbelief in its teachings, but total hatred of its entire system of belief and deep suspicion of any adherent. It was scary.

A spokesman for moderate Muslims has resigned from the Muslim Canadian Congress, citing death threats and safety concerns.

Tarek Fatah said his wife and daughters encouraged him to step down as communications director for the organization following an alarming number of threats and harassing phone calls.

“I’m just exhausted, it’s too much,” he told CBC.

“I’m physically drained and fatigued and disappointed by how much leverage these extremists have,” he said.

Fatah said he has been assaulted both verbally and physically, including an incident in which he was attacked at an Islamic conference in Toronto by dozens of young Muslim men.

He also said that an associate informed him of a discussion she overheard in which young men were discussing how Fatah should be killed.

Fatah said he’s reported the threats he’s received since 2003 to Toronto police, who are investigating the allegations.

(CBC News)

When a man in a Western liberal democracy can’t speak his mind with regard to the teachings of a particular religion for fear of physical violence, that makes me angry. I’ve stuck up for Islam in a lot of discussions, but today I seriously considered the side of those who would limit immigration and aggressively deport undesirables.

How do I begin to consider this situation redemptively? The gospel doesn’t teach us to insulate ourselves from persecution; it tells us to love our enemies. But what does it mean to love those at odds with the most fundamental teachings of the gospel?


  1. I don't know... hating all Muslims because of the actions of some fundamentalists is like hating all Christians because of the KKK. Clearly there are some crazy fringe elements, but that's true for any religion.

    The target in this case is a moderate Muslim. Would you damage his opportunities just for the chance to control the crazies?

  2. I must make it clear that I don't hate Muslims; it's just the religion I'm fed up with. It seems to breed religious violence wherever it goes. One could point to Ireland as a showcase of Christian religious violence or the violence committed by Christians against Muslims in the middle ages. But I don't know of a single place in the world where there are Muslims and there are not violent radical elements as well.

    I really feel for the moderate Muslims because the radicals absolutely ruin life for them. The other thing I worry about is my country's foreign policy which keeps poking the bees nest with a stick (just watch the movie Syriana); in other words, it promotes radicalization. Perhaps love begins with realizing how you have wronged your enemy.

  3. To "bless those who curse you" as Jesus taught requires a change as radical within ourselves as we desire in our enemies, since we are all by nature enemies of God. I've found this to mean a daily work of divine grace within myself that transcends mere will power or good intentions. Because hatred breeds hatred just as love awakens love, I can only love my enemies as I confess myself an enemy of God, by nature, who daily needs repentance, confession, forgiveness, and grace. It is then I see the love of God in the cross that awakens love in me for my enemies. The battle is won or lost on my knees. That's how it works in my life, Dave.

  4. I can only love my enemies as I confess myself an enemy of God, by nature,

    That's right on, Jan.

  5. preach it Jan....

    Dave...I know how you feel...I think the press has a lot to do with it too. They like to report things that un-nerve us and don't report enough good things out there.