What is Islamophobia? What is an Islamophobe?Question: "What is Islamophobia? What is an Islamophobe?"
Answer: Islamophobia is fear or hatred of the Islamic religion or of Muslims. This fear or hatred leads Islamophobes to act or think negatively against Muslims. Assuming that all Muslims are terrorists or radical, avoiding Muslims, and treating them rudely or with disdain are some examples of Islamophobia. Although Christians worship a different God than Muslims, followers of Christ must treat all men with respect (1 Peter 2:17). Christians should never be Islamophobic.
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” A person should never hate, fear, or treat with disdain any other person because he or she believes in something different. Instead, all people, including Muslims, need to be treated with dignity, respect, and love because they are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Islamophobia has no place in a Christian’s life.
God has given Christians a spirit of love, not of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), and “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). There is nothing loving about Islamophobia. Christians are to love their neighbors (Mark 12:31) as well as their enemies (Luke 6:35). In the final analysis, even the most radical Muslim is not the Christian’s enemy. The enemy is sin. Out of love, a Christian should be concerned that sin leads all people to death unless they repent and trust in Jesus. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), and we should seek to reconcile Muslims to the one true God.
To fight Islamophobia, one can try to find common ground with Muslims. Although Islam and Christianity are quite different, they have some common beliefs. Jesus is mentioned in the Quran. The Quran states that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and that He performed miracles. The Quran acknowledges that Jesus was taken bodily to heaven. These glimpses of truth can be a point of contact between a Christian and a Muslim. A Christian who tries to understand what a Muslim believes can build more respectful relationships and can better engage in dialogue. When the opportunity arises for a Christian to share the gospel with a Muslim, he should share the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Islamophobia or a knee-jerk discourtesy to Muslims only gets in the way of evangelism.
Christians should build relationships with Muslims and show them the love of God. How can love be shown in practical ways? We can pray for Muslims. We can get to know them. We can invite them to dinner. We can meet needs practically when they arise. There are so many opportunities to cancel out Islamophobia with love. Muslims and all other people need to see the love and truth of Jesus. They can see this when Christians live out what they believe.
Recommended Resource: Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross by Norm Geisler
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