“A clash of civilizations.” That’s how many in the media and in politics describe the relationship between Muslims and Christians. This popular narrative, however, does not capture the full story. Yes, there is a faction of Islam that is hostile and even aggressively violent toward the West. And there are some Christians who ignorantly scrawl Bible versus on the gun barrels of their tanks. But there are also people like Pervaiz Masih.
Pervaiz was part of the poor, Christian minority in Pakistan. He was illiterate. He worked as a janitor at the women’s campus of Islamabad’s International Islamic University. When a suicide bomber disguised as a women tried to enter the crowded cafeteria, Pervaiz confronted him at the doorway to prevent him from entering. In the struggle the bomb detonated killing Pervaiz and three students, but many more would have died had Pervaiz not sacrificed himself and stopped the killer from entering.
Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, the rector of the university said, “[Pervaiz Masih] rose above the barriers of caste, creed and sectarian terrorism. Despite being a Christian, he sacrificed his life to save the Muslim girls.” Some in Pakistan are calling him a national hero.
Pervaiz Masih represents an alternative to the “clash of civilizations” rhetoric that is being propagated. He represents what happens when Christians take seriously their calling to love their neighbors–even when those neighbors are Muslim. Our call to love, give, serve, help, and sacrifice is not dependant on the identity or doctrine of our neighbor. We do not love because of who they are, but because of who we are.
Watch this report by CNN about Pervaiz Masih and be hopeful. Be inspired:
HT: Vitamin Z