Like everyone else, Muslims
outraged over attacks in NY, DC
By Brittany Jarvis
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- Extremists who attacked the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon are not typical of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims, most of whom
are as outraged over the attacks as anyone, missionaries say. Christians
must be sure they don't succumb to any anti-Muslim hysteria inspired by the
Several television news programs have replayed footage of Palestinians
rejoicing at America's plight. Scattered attacks on mosques and harassment
of Arabs and Muslims in the United States have raised fears of vigilante
actions against innocent people simply because of their race or religion.
"You have to realize the Muslim world is huge, and there is diversity within
the Muslim world," said Robert Douglas, professor of intercultural studies
at Lincoln (Ill.) Christian Seminary. "My sense is that, yes, Islam does
have a few extremists, and so does Christianity. We ought not to
On Sept. 11, three hijacked commercial airliners wreaked destruction as they
slammed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Another
hijacked jet crashed outside of Pittsburgh, Penn. Initial reports estimate
almost 5,000 people are missing and feared dead in New York City alone.
Investigators reportedly believe the attacks may have been orchestrated by
Douglas said one student, an Arab Christian, expressed worry about how
people would react to her now.
"There is a little bit of fear in not knowing what is going to happen as she
meets the average American," Douglas said. "And that is tragic."
A Palestinian Muslim, on hearing of the attacks, quickly sent a message to a
missionary serving in the Middle East.
"Really, we are very sorry for New York and D.C.," he wrote. "We pray for
all families who lost their members in this incredible and cowardly work.
Please tell all of your friends that we are with them and we pray for all of
Another missionary in Palestine said Muslims there have been offering
sympathy and condolences since the attacks.
"I'm writing to share with you the non-stop ringing of our telephone from
Palestinians grieving over the New York and D.C. tragedies," the missionary
wrote. "I have heard that there are rumors of 'rejoicing' and believe that,
if this is true, it will be from a vocal minority of those opposed to U.S.
policy in the area, and not the true representation of the Palestinian
As for the actual attacks, a missionary familiar with Egyptian Muslims, said
most are not sympathetic with fundamentalist extremists.
"It is typical of the Muslim's worldview that they believe they should be in
domination," the missionary said. "But the majority of Muslims are
Extremist factions within the Muslim community focus on the teachings of an
Egyptian writer, Sayyid Qutb, and the translation of particular words.
Qutb wrote that non-Islamic forces had compromised the Koran. According to
Allah, Muslims were to rule over non-Islamic people and the Koran makes
provisions for "jihads," or holy wars, for the cause of Allah and the
defense of Islam, he said.
Qutb's views freed 'true' Muslims to attack others -- even societal Muslims
-- who in their view had corrupted the Koran. Such teachings have led to
attacks on Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria -- all Muslim nations.
"Anything that the fundamentalist Muslim interprets as not being true to
their ideal of Islam is subject to attack by this very small minority," the
Given the fear Muslims in the United States are feeling toward possible
reprisals, Douglas said Christians need to make concerted efforts to show
"Christians need to be loving towards their neighbors," he said. "After all,
our Teacher has said to us to love one another and to love our enemy. We
have to recognize that our neighbors and the colleagues that we work with
are not our enemies."
A former Muslim who now is a follower of Jesus also encouraged church
leaders to meet with local Muslims.
"Christian leaders and communities need to meet with Muslim communities and
assure them that as Christians we do not hate them and are not planning to
attack them," he said.
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