Tea with Hezbollah

Last Thursday, the New York Times reported that the Shi’i military and political movement Hezbollah, which many would classify as terrorist, toppled the Lebanese government just six months after the death of Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of Hezbollah’s most prominent intellectual and religious figures.

Fadlallah and other Hezbollah leaders have regularly refused audiences with western authors and media. But for Carl Medearis and New York Times bestselling novelist Ted Dekker, both conceivably Evangelical Christians, Hezbollah made exceptions. And not only Hezbollah made exceptions, so did Hamas, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Oil, two of Osama bin Laden’s brothers, and many other prominent and everyday Middle Eastern Muslims. The result is Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies’ Table, Our Journey through the Middle East.

In the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5), Jesus articulates principles for a life of integrity that are counter-intuitive, strangely fulfilling, philosophically rich, infuriating, and magnificent all at the same time.  “You have heard it said, ‘do not murder.’  But I say to you whoever rages at his brother or sister (some translations include, “without cause”) will be liable for judgment” (5:21).  And, “You have heard it said, ‘do not commit adultery.’  But I say whoever looks with lustful intent (presumably, at someone else’s spouse) has already committed adultery in his heart” (5:27).  And, “You have heard it said, ‘do not swear falsely.’ But I say do not swear at all, but simply let your “yes” mean “yes,” and your “no” mean “no” (5:33-37).

But the challenge of refraining in thought, word, and deed from fury, lust, and duplicity is less daunting than this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (5:43-45, NRSV).

When an attendee at a Harvard Bookstore forum asked Sebastian Junger, the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm (1997) and War (2010), about loving one’s enemies in wartime, Junger replied, “It’s a beautiful idea. I don’t think it’s realistic, unfortunately. If that worked, there wouldn’t be war, but it doesn’t work.” For Junger, Afghan insurgents and U.S. soldiers cannot love one another. They must kill or be killed.

Although Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis are not soldiers, they challenge Junger’s verdict by setting out to love enemies and pray for perceived and actual persecutors. In Tea with Hezbollah, Dekker and Medearis recount their trek through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories to eat, drink, interview, and converse in Jesus’ name with Muslim ideologues, Hamas leaders, Hezbollah fighters, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Oil, two of Osama bin Laden’s brothers, Lebanese Sheikh Ayatollah Fadlallah (deceased July 4, 2010), as well as workaday Muslim taxi drivers, teachers, river farriers, entrepreneurs, and military officers. They brave border patrols, body guards, the IDF, and Saudi religious police to humanize powerful and everyday Middle Eastern Muslims to Americans, and to humanize Americans—especially American evangelical Christians—to Middle Eastern Muslims. One of the ways they do this is by peppering their interviewees with questions ranging from lighthearted to audacious:

What is something your children or grandchildren do that makes you laugh?
What are your favorite hobbies, television shows, or sports?
What would you say are Americans’ greatest misconceptions of your people?
What are the worst Muslim, Arab, and Saudi misconceptions about Americans?
If you had one thing to say to all Jews and Christians, what would it be?
Jesus’ greatest teaching was that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, even love our enemies. How do you recommend we love each other as Jesus taught?
If you fire a rocket at your neighbor,is that loving them?

But Tea with Hezbollah does not merely moralize that Muslims and even terrorists are people too. Dekker and Medearis aim for reconciliation in a “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12-13) emulating Booker T. Washington (let no one pull you so low as to hate them) and Martin Luther King, Jr., “to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from this view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature…learn and grow and profit.”

Dekker and Medearis labor to win their enemies’ friendship, understanding, and acknowledgment of what is right by initiating conversations about Jesus with Muslims who traditionally revere Jesus as a prophet, virgin-born Messiah, and as a “Word” from God in language reminiscent of John 1 (see Surah 3:45, 4:171). But even though Muslims respect Jesus, they are usually woefully ignorant about the gospels, not least because of misguided or malicious efforts to ban Bibles in parts of the majority Muslim world. Such censorship continues despite commands in the Qur’an that apparently allude, appeal to, or purport to confirm Jewish and Christian scripture, “If thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee” (Surah 10:94).

Click here to read the rest of my article in Books & Culture

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29 thoughts on “Tea with Hezbollah

  1. This book sounds wonderful, just the sort of positive approach that’s needed. In response to Junger, if we had operated on the principle of loving our enemies, America wouldn’t have invaded other countries and put their soldiers in that position of ‘defending’ themselves. And on Matthew 5.22, I have argued that the more usual text, omitting ‘without cause’, represents the earlier manuscripts. Therefore, a stronger command and characteristically more difficult: just don’t rage against your brother or sister, regardless of provocation. Predictably, … I like that better, don’t you?

  2. Thanks for your comment, Stephanie, I would definitely be interested in your (article?) about Jesus and not to rage for any reason. I think Richard Hays at Duke makes a similar argument, perhaps in Moral Vision of the New Testament, but I’m not sure.

    As for me, I might differentiate between rage, which implies loss of control, and anger, which may sometimes be appropriate. As you may know, Psalm 4:4 and Ephesians 4 advise, “In your anger, do not sin,” though surely there are some things which it is appropriate to be angry about? Jesus in the temple with the money changers / swindlers for example?

  3. Ben, I’m assuming you meant to wrap enemies in quotes in the sentence ” Although Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis are not soldiers, they challenge Junger’s verdict by setting out to love enemies and pray for perceived and actual persecutors.” Dahlia Mogahed’s Who Speaks For Islam? http://www.amazon.com/Who-Speaks-Islam-Billion-Muslims/dp/1595620176 utilizes another way of allowing Muslims to express their nuanced opinions about a variety of things.

    I also don’t think ignorance about the gospels has any relationship to censorship since 1) a large # of Americans are equally as ignorant, though relatively more favorably disposed to Christian scripture, and 2) (if it is being argued that there is no censorship here in the US) Americans probably know a lot less about the contents of the Qur’an even though one can find translations in English and Spanish at the average corner bookstore.

    It seems to me that your piece universalizes certain “mainstream” Christian perspectives that were initially particularistic. For example, when you say Muslims give credence to folklore about the crucifixion, you don’t mention that the early Church had major ‘structural’ theological debates about this, about its doctrinal representation (e.g. Christ vs the historical Jesus, etc.), or that early Muslim exegetes tended to side with the argument that supported their POV. Obviously, the converse happened in Muslim thought regarding the crucifixion, where those exegetes and perspectives which certified it fell out of step, while the perspectives that became the “mainstream” were the ones rejecting its historicity. Only people who study theology (and not surprisingly also atheist and spectators to these scriptural/theological contests) are really (or should be expected to be) aware of these kinds of issues. So IMO there ought to full disclosure that about the “laity” in both (all?) religions. An amendment should be added to the “I promise not to compare the ideals of my religion to the worst examples of yours,” interfaith dialog pledge that is similar to “I will not expect from your “laity” what I can only expect from my theologian/historian/exegete.”

    Other than these small quibblings, I appreciated your post and the authors’ efforts to challenge the whole “enemies of Christ” rhetoric by allowing the “other” to speak for themselves. Thanx.

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful post, Garfield. You have a good point about not expecting the same level of nuance from specialists and non-specialists in respective traditions.

      I wonder, however, if you might be someone who could help dispel what I call folklore held by some Muslims regarding Jesus and the cross? I was pleased when a prominent Imam speaking at Duke in one of my classes recently implied belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, apparently seeing no inconsistency between these as part of the prior revelation given to Christians. A good source that interacts with Muslim and Christian sources on this topic is A.H. Mathias Zahniser’s The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity (Orbis, 2008)

      1. Ben, I think a way to look at the Muslim perspective of the crucifixion is that it is Christological from a uniquely Muslim perspective, versus from the perspective of the Church. The series of verses mentioning (Quran 4: 153-162) appears as a commentary on statements from a specific “People of Scripture,” one of which appeared to be bragging about slaying the Messiah. On this specific point the Quran responds that not only did they not kill him, they did not crucify him either. There is then mention that the issue of crucifixion is a contentious one among people of scripture and the subject itself is conjectural.

        The language utilized in verse 157 is anything but categorical with room for a variety of understanding, and historically one has been to confirm the occurrence of the crucifixion, but the one that took currency at least among Sunni Islam is that he was not crucified.

        From this perspective I’m not sure it’s correct to categorize the Muslims’ perspective as based on folklore. It is not a Church’s version of Christology that is true. Islam and Muslims have appropriated the historical Jesus and so our treatment is uniquely Christological. I’m using Christological here because the Qur’an does then refer to Jesus as a messiah.

        1. Again, Garfield, many thanks. I know many Muslims do not believe in Jesus’ crucifixion as stated in the post and in the Qur’an reference we both mentioned. What excites me, however, are alternative readings of that Qur’anic reference which can be taken to mean, in light of recognizing earlier revelation given to Jews and Christians (which I can supply some support for from my Harvard thesis if you like) that take this to mean that Christ was not crucified and killed in an ULTIMATE since, but was rather vindicated by God through resurrection. If Muslims could adopt this (in my view, correct) trend in their tradition over and against the “Jesus wasn’t crucified” tradition, this would be a step in the right direction both historically and for Christian-Muslim relations, eliminating an unnecessary source of contention, and helps Muslims avoid the early Christian error or “heresy” of Marcionism which sought to dismiss the earlier revelation in the Hebrew Bible. It also better makes sense of the Qur’anic injunctions for earlier revelation and the conviction that God will preserve God’s word, no matter what.

          2) I would also add that although there might be some challenges regarding the crucifixion from early gnostics, that Christianity has overwhelmingly acknowledged Christ as crucified and then raised by God, and that even non-Christian mainstream Biblical scholarship of the most radical sort (E.g. Dominic Crossan and the “Jesus Seminar”) recognize Jesus’ crucifixion as a historical event.

          1. I agree that Jesus was crucified by the Romans but I by the view explored by Ludemann and most recently explained clearly by Maurice Casey, that the resurrection narratives are developed from traditions that some disciples (‘some doubted’ is removed from Matthew’s account by Luke) had ‘grief visions’. I suspect these were inspired not only by grief but by conviction that God did indeed raise martyrs as he had (according to tradition like the Macabbeans) raise martyrs in the past. There real case studies across cultures suggesting that individuals do have visions and experiences of loved ones who have died.

            However you are not suggesting that you have ‘historical evidence’ for Jesus’ resurrection are you?

            Also I am not so sure I feel at all comfortable with the evangelising nature of your argument in which you seem to want to persuade Muslims to convert to your belief which would be contrary to their faith and elevate Jesus to a position which as good as contradicts the Qu’ran. If that is what ‘interfaith relationships’ is about (that is, ‘we’ll get on alot better together if you share my faith too’) then I will leave.

          2. Ben, I know that you know that mainstream Muslim POV is that there was no crucifixion. I was only pointing to your use of folklore. The Quranic upholds Tawhid, or a radical monotheism, from its own perspective. From the perspective of Muslim-Christian relation the Quran ask Muslims to establishing a common basis on belief in God and not establishing partners with Him. This I believe to be a more reasonable basis for relations than the one you suggest.

  4. it’s not in NA either Ben so it’s hardly controversial: only in minor manuscripts. The addition also reeks suspiciously of convenience to justify violence as you demonstrate, not ‘appropriate’ in context and dulls the saying somewhat. And naturally Jesus is not Paul and it’s not appropriate or proper historical method to reconcile the gospels with Pauline letters nor stretch it into the temple narrative. It’s part of my phd thesis (synoptic problem, proposing a chaotic model, aramaic, greek and oral sources) which focuses partly on sermon on the mount material.

    1. Hi Steph, a quick point on my use of Scripture, as a Christian believer, I do see it as a unified whole as well as consisting of parts, and a central source for faith and practice.

      However, I also quote Scripture as providing a source of reflection or examples (sometimes bad examples, since Christians don’t tend to believe any Biblical character is without moral failings, except for Jesus), and I can refer to Paul and to Jesus’ in the Temple as examples of possible appropriate anger, even if anger is not always appropriate.

      In this sense, I can quote them as I might quote, say, Shakespeare or even an exemplary character in (not overtly “religious”) literature, though of course Jesus and the New Testament writers do have authority for me personally that Shakespeare, for instance, doesn’t intrinsically have. Yet this doesn’t disqualify examples from the Bible as examples for consideration among people who do not necessarily share my belief, and the Biblical examples can surely be critiqued. But in a mixed-religious/non-religious audience, I can appeal to Biblical data or personas as I would to, say, Hamlet or historical examples like Napolean or Angelina Grimke (just pulling two out of many possible) for consideration.

      Hope I”m making some sense here,

      Ben

      1. Not much sense, no. First, my Christian colleagues in the UK and NZ, good historical critical scholars, tend to treat the historical Jesus as fully human and the gospels Jesus as a developing divine one. Second, your analogy with Shakespearean texts is not an analogy at all. What you describe is not historical method and offers no explanation for the earlier manuscripts failing to contain an addition, nor in fact the alteration from an easy saying to a harder one. What you describe, we call Christian bias with a preference to reconcile teachings with a later Christian doctrine, so called justification of war. Jesus gets angry often with demons as well as with wrongdoing in the Temple. But each time he is reacting to specific events and this is a general teaching. Justifying violence between siblings contradicts loving your enemies. And in this case I am not contradicting the general view. See Bruce Metzger.

  5. I hope you read the article linked above – ‘Bury the Hatchet’ also on SoF. It’s excellent.

      1. I think it’s a far wiser direction to take. The same idea was discussed when I was an undergraduate studying Islam. My lecturer took a course on Terrorism and his own specialist knowledge in Islam (including having taught in Indonesian universities for several years) and excellent relationship with the Muslim community, eventually led him to become Director of a government department in Islamic Affairs. He became a regular spokesperson on matters of ‘the war’ which we opposed anyway, and he discussed a similar approach suggested in the paper by Patterson. (I think that’s his name – I forget…)

        I’ve ordered Tea with Hezbollah and it’s been sent. Look forward to reading it. When I wrote a paper on Islam and Women, I spent a great deal of time over a year, with the Muslim community and made many friends… I felt it was important to get to know them, their families and children and finding the things we shared and learn what and why things were important to them and their culture.

          1. 100 thousand word doctoral thesis – that’s the UK requirement. I don’t think so, no.

          2. I didn’t notice that comment before but I don’t think it’s worth my effort. After your insensitive comment on my post about my mother, whose absence has shattered everything in my life, and now your aim to convert Muslims to Christianity – ie turn them into Muslim heretics, I don’t see the point.

  6. Steph,

    In reply, and in hopes that you don’t leave (but I definitely recognize your right not to participate in a discussion if you prefer not, as I hope we all do here at State of Formation!).

    I don’t think, however, think that you characterizing my comments as “evangelizing” or out of bounds is fair. Are you not trying to persuade me on some points as well? If I believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected by God in a historic sense, that shouldn’t be out of bounds for discussion anymore than your statement that the disciples simply saw “visions” should be out of bounds.

    You are welcome to (continue) to try to persuade me about your faith or lack thereof also. I welcome people attempting to persuade me, so long as we interact in a civil manner, and there is no “coercion” involved on either side. I do believe there is historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. This is standard historic Christianity, including mainline as well as Evangelical and Fundamentalist protestantism, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Mainstream Christianity throughout the ages and today has not taught metaphorical resurrection only, or that Jesus simply lives on in our hearts (ala Bultmann) but that Jesus actually did rise from the dead as the New Testament indicates. For historical rather than theological evidence only about this, see for example, N.T. Wright’s magisterial The Resurrection of the Son of God, or Gary Habermas, or William Lane Craig’s The Son Rises, all which interact thoroughly with historical and New Testament Scholarship. Interestingly, Craig debated Ludemann just on this point, see: Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann

    I also disagree that arguing for Jesus’ death on the cross necessarily contradicts the Qur’an or Islam for reasons already stated, and yes, I do believe that people who believe Jesus was not crucified are in error, and that if they were to change their opinion, for Muslims at least this would remove a major roadblock in Christian and Muslim theological Rapprochement. That there are many other areas of disagreement does not mean we cannot come together on these or other points. I’m also happy to share other verses from the Qur’an, if you’re interested, and refer you again to the book by Zahniser, a Ph.D. Islamicist who earned his degree from Johns Hopkins.

    If we can’t be ourselves and represent our actual beliefs in dialogue I think something valuable is lost in the process, though all dialogue, nor even a majority of it, need not be of the persuasive variety, though digging into theological and philosophical content seems to me necessarily persuasive unless we are simply reporting on a certain belief or position.

    Sincerely,

    Ben

    1. No I don’t jest. And I am now aware that you are a Christian apologist. There is no historical evidence for resurrection Ben. That is beyond historical enquiry. It is supernatural and its “truth” is dependent on faith. Yes I’ve read all your apologists, from Craig to Wright, even seen Craig debate a colleague with his five point argument… I have recently convinced my supervisor to undertake the task of writing a book seriously engaging the Jesus myther arguments. Scholars recently dismiss them on the basis of outdated scholarship. Part of the credibility of mythers with their audience lies in the outlandish and debunkable arguments of Christian apologists. It’s one fundamentalism attacking another without acknowledging serious critical scholarship in between – generally non american which is the hotbed for fundamentalism.

      On your evangelising mission, remember many ‘Christians don’t believe in resurrection and even more don’t believe in virgin births. Perhaps they should convert to ‘true’ Islam?

      1. Hi Steph, I look forward to reading your supervisers’ critique of Craig and others, and celebrate it as a way forward in dialogue, even if my believing in a historical resurrection of Jesus (perhaps a topic better for a later post?) makes me a “Christian apologist.”

        Regarding conversion, I believe all people should be free to “convert” or not “convert” into or out of whatever faith community they desire. As for the Virgin Birth of Jesus, I do see that as a commonality between many Christians and Muslims throughout history. In my opinion, the Virgin Birth does represent “True Islam,” and also historic Christianity. The “demythologizers” of the past two centuries represent an abberation from most historic and many contemporary Christian/Muslim views on this.

        Please accept my sincerest apologies if I was insensitive in commenting on one of your earlier posts. I have revisited my comments, and lament that I am unable to discern how I was insensitive, and deeply regret that I was perceived that way. Please write me directly by e-mail if you’d like to further share your feelings on this, or if you prefer, we can leave things as they are with my mea culpa.

        1. If you are honestly interested you should read his newly released book. I read every draft of that manuscript … It’s Maurice Casey, “Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s View of his Life and Teachings” (T&T Clark 2010). I felt considering the anti academic, and anti religious climate which inspires a growing myther audience, it was important to back up Jesus’ historicity with a proper refutation of mythicist arguments. Maurice is currently about half way through the first draft and we hope it will be released by the end of 2012.

          You cannot demonstrate religious miracles as historical events. There are no historical methodological tools. You cannot prove the resurrection any more than a virgin birth. They are matters of belief, belief which existed in the first century. Of course that makes you an apologist. I am surprised you put the scare quotes. Do you try to deny it?

          Of course people are free to change their faith or lose it and it would be ridiculous to suggest I said otherwise. What it is immoral, arrogant and self righteous, and frankly irresponsible to do is to persuade them to change their views on the basis of your personal belief.

          As to my post about my mother’s very recent death – I wasn’t expecting comments at all. James Croft offered sympathy for which I was very grateful. You completely ignored the subject of my post and challenged me on a point about studying religion and belief (or something similarly moronic)!!! I was profoundly upset – mortified actually – with your heartless and thoughtless lack of compassion and don’t think it’s a very fine example of your “faith”. The added fact that even revisiting the post you fail to recognise that astonishes me even more. You “cannot discern” – no indeed. That’s what happens to people who think so highly of themselves they lack sensitivity and consideration towards others. Even evangelising has selfish intent. I want nothing to do with you quite frankly. Personal email – oh please don’t make me cringe.

  7. Salaam, Garfield. Hopefully this comes through since we ran out of “reply bars” for our conversation above!

    I think you point out an excellent example for a basis of Muslim-Christian relations and theological engagement grounded in mutual belief in God and rejecting any “partners” (or idolatry / other gods) with God.

    In my opinion, I would just like to see this common ground expanded further, as much as possible (a sentiment I am sure many Christians and Muslims share, even if they disagree about where that commonality can be expanded) to other areas where there can also be commonality with integrity.

    Since I perceive ways that one can be a Muslim and also recognize that Jesus was crucified and even resurrected based on the Scriptures given to Christians in addition to (even if presently a minority) of resources from within the Islamic tradition and Muslim leaders, I yearn to share this commonality with Muslims, and apparently there are some Muslims who I do share this commonality with as Zahniser documents.

    To put this into another perspective, it would seem the early Muslims encountered or believed that there were people claiming to be Christians who worshiped the Blessed Virgin Mary. But many Christians today would view worshiping Mary (which they might distinguish from venerating or respecting her, holding her in honor, praying for her to intercede for them, etc.) as a distortion of true Christianity and an affront to the One God to whom worship alone is due. They would thus be able to stand together with Muslims and agree with Muslims that it is not right to worship Mary, eliminating (or have largely eliminated) a major and unnecessary source of contention between Christians and Muslims.

    In the same way, I hope mainstream Islam will (and in some cases, even if through minority voices has) recognize Jesus as crucified, even vindicated by God through resurrection, thus eliminating one of our major historic theological quibbles, a quibble which I think is unnecessary. This is one reason why I was so pleased to hear an imam at Duke seemingly cite his shared belief in Christ’s resurrection. Maybe I hope for “too far too soon,” here, but still, I hope.

  8. Brother Ben, this is your post and once you respond to this comment, I’ll let it be so that you can have the last word. I’m not sure if you’ve been contemplating Steph’s responses re: historical Jesus vs faith Christ (my rendering of her words), but you really should, imho. Muslims and Islam has its own self styled perspective of redemption, one that doesn’t require christology or “Maryology” for that matter (at least not their literality).

    Finally, lighten up a bit there brother. These convos need not be Win – Lose in order to be productive. Here we are disagreeing about the crucifixion, neither obviously convinced about the other’s approach to the subject, yet in dialog.

  9. Dear Ben DeVan,

    Your hope that Muslim or Islam ” will (and in some cases, even if through minority voices) recognize Jesus as crucified, even vindicated by God through resurrection” will remain as a hope! Let us examine What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?

    Muslims respect and revere Jesus. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary). The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:

    (Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is. … (Quran, 3:45-47)

    Muslims believe that Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother. God has said: “ The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being.”…. (Quran, 3:59)

    Muslims believe that during his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. the Quran relates that Jesus said: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. I heal the blind from birth and the leper. And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission. And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses….” (Quran, 3:49)

    Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. They believe that it was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus. God has said: …They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man).. (Quran, 4:157)

    Muslims also believe that neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it.

    Muslims belief as described above is clear and unequivocal. What is perplexing is that some leading and influential evangelical figures like the stealthy Douglas Coe and his organization known as The Fellowship foundation or “The Family” are living under an illusion that you can transform Muslims and make them “Muslims and followers of Jesus”. The money and deceit used in this process for the purpose of converting young Muslims and transform them to become “followers of Jesus” is mind boggling and confounding, to say the least. Douglas Coe and his stealthy organization have been investing Millions of dollars in Africa, the Middle East and many other countries around the world. They have been using politicians such as Senator Tom Coburn and Congressman Mike Doyle along with Muslim individuals who have been operating under the guise of helping the youths in their poor communities but in reality they are trying to change the minds and culture of young, Innocent and deprived youths yearning for a better future. I do not understand the purpose of this type of deceit and exploitation. Those who are not privy to such activities should read or refer to the two books “C Street” and “The Family” by Jeff Sharlet. What a waste of money and energy. Such attempts are utter rubbish. Why do we have to convert others and change their culture rather than accepting and respecting each other’s set of believes? Why is it so difficult for us to accept each other and learn to live with each other peacefully? Why do we need people like Douglas Coe and his Organization roaming the world trying to convert young minds and make them “followers of Jesus”? are they doing it because they want to save the souls of those young and poor kids? Of course not. They are in it because it generates tens of millions of dollars from wealthy pious Americans who truly believe that the best thing they can do in life is to convert none Christians. Within this equation, Doug Coe and his Organization managed to Wield a great deal of power around the world.
    It is really a shame that so much money and influence, tainted with deceit and hypocrisy, is employed to conduct activities that is contrary to the interest of humanity.

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