Much has been written in recent days, in both old and new media as well as social networks, about the popular uproar in Islamic countries, caused by a pornographic and insulting video. I wrote my share of words, as well.
Yesterday I came across a paragraph in a letter by Christians knowledgable in the Middle East, the culture and religion of Islam and the situation of Christians in the Middle East. To some extent it says what I have been trying to say, but it includes a couple of things that provide a specifically Christian perspective which we (and especially we Christians) need to keep in mind:
Once again the Muslim world, especially the Arab world – is in turmoil. The Arab “Spring” has turned into the “Winter of Their Discontent” which has fueled strong reactions against the film made in the US which mocks the prophet of Islam and Islam itself. In a shame and honor driven society this disrespect is a huge offense and for Christians it is totally against what the New Testament teaches.
But the causes of the intensity of the reaction go far beyond a question of shame and honor. The sense of disappointment that positive change did not happen following significant political upheaval coupled with economic hardship (the underprivileged vs. the privileged classes) and inter-communal tensions (especially Sunni vs. Shiite) has led to seething frustration. Extremist groups – whether Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi or al-Qaeda – have seized the opportunity to make political gains.
Democracy is founded on the concept that man and woman are created in the image of God and this principle is missing in the Muslim world. The Church must meet the perpetual need of the Muslim world for prayer – for peace and for the Prince of Peace, for a reasoned response and for the Logos incarnate, and for love of neighbor and for Him Who is Love.
(Quoted by permission)