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Archive for July, 2010

This is a beautiful post that shows the love of a mother for her special needs son. Other than the Arabic words peppered throughout the article Christians will immediately feel that this mother is like any mother of a special needs child. She knows that life is harder. And she knows that it can be sweeter.

In the two years since his diagnosis, I’ve learned more about patience and trust in Allah than I had in my entire life before that, and having a child with autism has been a blessing that I cannot imagine living without.

Update: Azez, the author of this post, graciously translated the “peppered Arabic” in the comments.

Related Post:
Just the Way I Am

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Cinema Jenin

The cinema in Jenin is reopening. What a remarkable story.

“It will be a cinema for peace that will carry my son Ahmed’s message. Hopefully it will join a number of different nationalities together and hopefully by bringing people together it will bring peace.” – Ismael Khatib, father of Ahmed Khatib. Ahmed was killed when he was 11 years old by the Israeli military. He was carrying a toy gun, which was mistaken for a real gun. His father donated his organs to six Israelis, both Arabs and Jews.

“Heart of Jenin” is a movie that was made to tell the story of Ishmael meeting the children that had received his son’s organs. When the German filmmaker realized that the film couldn’t even be seen in Jenin he stopped making movies to restore the cinema.

Read the whole story.

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I Love This

Lest you think I only hate things, I wanted to post something I love. Ali Elhajj is an Arab follower of Jesus who founded The Bethlehem Christmas Project: Bringing Israelis and Palestinians Together on Christmas.

They are bringing people together. They are blessing others. They are tearing down walls. They are making peace. I love it.

“I saw the joy and the love and it’s very unique to see all the people together giving gifts to Palestinian children and I was amazed to see their smiles,”Alex, an Israeli. Alex had never been to the West Bank before. He had never been on the other side of the wall. Understandably he was a bit afraid. I had tears in my eyes as I listened to him. Not only did he bring joy to the children he met, but he returned to Israel a changed man.

You can also read an article from a couple of years ago in Christianity Today. Here are some key quotes from it:

“When you come to Christ, you have to understand that he died for me to reconcile me to God,” Elhajj said. “How am I as a Christian, as a citizen of the kingdom, supposed to act? As a peacemaker.”

Elhajj told CT he believes that stereotypical perceptions of evangelicals being close-minded is just as unfounded as some evangelical stereotypes of Muslims. “If you’ll just engage people, you’ll find a wide range of beliefs and motivations. You try to find folks who are open, are ready to learn, and want to do the will of God.”

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I Also Hate This

I am not afraid to admit that I don’t believe the Qur’an is the Word of God. If I did I would be a Muslim. However, that doesn’t make me any less incensed when I see things like “International Burn a Koran Day” hosted by a church in Florida. This can’t get much further from loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

*I intentionally did not link to the facebook page because I don’t want you to go see it. Same with the church’s website.

Related Posts:
I Hate This
I Hate This Too
Our Greatest Enemy

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From City of Brass with Aziz Poonawalla:

Lost in all the noise and recrimination of modern Islamophobia about mosques and minarets and burkas and whatnot, is the simple fact that the vast majority of muslims, jews and christians are neighbors, and members of the same civic fabric, and act accordingly towards common interests. Case in point:

A project to transform a derelict church has received a £52,000 donation – from the mosque across the road.

The money will be used to fund the restoration of the former United Reformed Church on Stockport Road in a bid to create Levenshulme Inspire, a multi-use community centre.

Bohra Mosque, which opened two years ago as Manchester’s first eco- mosque, made the donation – and religious leaders hope the money will be used to help community and symbolize successful inter-faith relationships in Levenshulme.

Dr Mustafa Abdulhussein, trustee at the Bohra mosque said: “Levenshulme Inspire promises to be the most beneficial project in decades for the youth of the area and certainly deserves the support it has got.

“I am sure it will be a huge asset to Levenshulme and the mosque is pleased to contribute to it.”

Levenshulme Inspire, which will contain apartments, office and worship space, community rooms and a cafe, is due to open in October.

It aims to become the heart of Levenshulme’s community while helping the most disadvantaged people in the area.

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“I told myself ‘here is an opportunity to bring the people together’ and decided to donate the money,” Harush said. “People were dumbfounded. What does a Jewish-Israeli man have do to with refurbishing a mosque? The answer is simple: I’m sick and tired of the hatred. A sane voice must emerge.”

“I myself am not a religious person but I feel that in the absence of upstanding politicians it falls on businessmen to bring together Jews and Arabs and seculars and the religious.”

He definitely gets it right that it won’t be politicians who are going to bring peace.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Talk Islam

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Islam in America

Al Jazeera English did a really interesting look at Islam in America a couple years ago. It was hosted by Rageh Omar who is a Somali born British Muslim. His first stop is Minneapolis, MN where he connects with the large Somali population there and is surprised to hear of how strongly they consider America to be their home.

The Muslims he met certainly dispelled many of the misconceptions that European Muslims have about being Muslim in America. They will also dispel many of the misconceptions Christians have about being Muslim in America.

The American Crescent, Part 1:

The American Crescent, Part 2:

The American Crescent, Part 3:

The American Crescent, Part 4:

You can also watch the second episode, Islamic Stars and Stripes (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

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From Desiring God:

The Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA, is the largest and historically one of the bloodiest maximum-security prisons in the USA. In 2009, Desiring God and John Piper were invited to Angola to learn about prison life, hear from men who have been radically changed by the gospel, and minister to many of the 5,000 inmates.

Don’t Waste Your Life Sentence confronts you with the realities of inmates who, though their lives appear to have been wasted, often have a greater grasp on eternity than those on the outside.

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Four Feet, Two Sandals

Four Feet, Two Sandals is a great children’s picture book about two Afghani refugees who become friends by sharing in a Pakistani refugee camp. Author Karen Lynn Williams gives this reason for partnering with Khadra Mohammed to write the book, “I was inspired to write this book when Khadra Mohammed came to me with the story about a refugee girl in the United States who wanted to know why there were no books about children like her.”

My wife got this book from the library. When I heard her reading it to our five year old daughter Lucy I was immediately drawn into the story. So I thought it would be fun to read it with Lucy as well and then interview her. Here is our interview.

Lucy, what did you learn about Afghanistan?
Lina had to run away with her mother and two brothers, but Feroza had to run away with her grandmother.

Why?
Because of the war.

How are these girls different than you?
They are dressed in different clothes.

How are they like you?
They shared. They moved to a different country. They like pretty shoes.

What did you like about the book?
How they become friends and share the sandals.

Is it a good book for other kids to read?
Yes, because you are learning about sharing.

If they moved next door how could we help them (one of the girls and her family move to America)?
We could share with them. And we could give them a Bible.

What kinds of things could we share with them? Could we share clothes?
Yes and we could give her more shoes.

What about friendship? Would you like to be Lina’s friend (Lina is the one who came to America)?
Yes and Feroza’s too.

Thanks to Lucy for being willing to be interviewed. In fact, she really enjoyed it and kept asking whether I was typing everything she said (full disclosure: I did edit some of her less focused and more wordy answers!).

Here is a video that explains more of the book.

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A Is for Allah

My last post reminded me of “A Is for Allah.” It was written by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) for his daughter to teach the Arabic alphabet. You can read all the lyrics here. I think it is a very beautiful song.

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