Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review: Answering Jihad


Consider the following headlines from March 22, 2016...
ISIS Claims Responsility for Brussels Attack
ISIS Attacks US Firebase in Iraq
ISIS: 75 Attacks. 20 Countries, 1,280 killed
And here is a list of the attacks in the past 30 days.  

Terrifying.  Terrifying and maddening.   Innocent people, often women and children, brutally murdered under the flag of Islam. And, oh my, people are mad.

As Christians, how are we to respond? Do we really understand what is going on? Do we even care to understand? Or are we content to feed our anger with Facebook posts and rating-driven news reports? 

Nabeel Quereshi, in Answering Jihad, says, "There is too much confusion, too much misdirected anger, too much misinformation, too little balance and too little grace to remain silent any longer." And he doesn't remain silent. Instead, he provides a better way forward. 

Answering Jihad is very readable.  It is separated into three parts: The Origins of Jihad, Jihad Today and Jihad in Judeo-Christian Context. The chapters within these sections are short (5-10 pages long) and are in a question/answer format. At 173 pages, you could easily finish this book in a weekend.

Here is a list of the questions that he tackles:
Part 1:  Origins of Jihad
What is Islam?
Is Islam “a Religion of Peace”?
What is Jihad?
Is Jihad in the Quran and the Life of Muhammed?
What is Sharia?
Was Islam Spread by the Sword?

Part 2: Jihad Today
What is Radical Islam?
Does Islam need a Reformation?
Who are Al-Qaida, ISIS, and Boko Haram?
Who are the True Muslims- Violent or Peaceful Muslims?
Why are Muslims being radicalized?
Are Muslims trying to take over the West with Sharia?

Part 3: Jihad in Judeo-Christian Context
Do Muslims and Christians worship the Same God?
Why do some Christians call God “Allah”?
How does Jihad compare with Old Testament Warfare?
What does Jesus teach about Violence?
How does Jihad compare with the Crusades?
What does Jesus have to do with Jihad?

Nabeel Quereshi asks and answers the hard questions.  But he's not writing in isolation from the kingdom of acadamia.  As a former Muslim, he writes, "Islam was my identity, my culture, my worldview, my pride, even my raison d'etre. For me, Islam was more than just a religion; it was my entire way of life." As a Christian, he seeks the truth.  But as a man with Muslim friends and family, he seeks love and grace. 

This book is written with a tone of grace and respect. And the author exhorts Christians to respond to Muslims with the same tone of grace and respect. This can be done without compromising the truth. But we must be willing to seek the truth, which won't be found in soundbites from Fox News.

I encourage you to read this book.  You will find it very beneficial to your understanding of the events of today.

I received this book from the publisher for this review.

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