She’s Not Gonna Blow Up the Walmart.

A long time ago I lived in a town where almost everyone was white. They were really nice, just all white. One day we heard that students from Saudi Arabia were coming to our local university. “How cool,” I thought. Some of the guys at church, not so much.

To their credit, they came by their thinking naturally and for the most part weren’t malicious. But they were nervous. “Weren’t Saudis flying the planes that wreaked 911 havoc?” (Objectively true.) “Aren’t they Muslims who want to take over the world?” (Debatable.) “Won’t they try to blow us up?” (Astronomically unlikely.)

Here’s what I told our church, “Saudi students are coming here. One day soon you’ll round an end cap at Walmart and see a covered Muslim woman in the aisle ahead of you. Your eyes will get big. You’ll want to run. Don’t panic. She’s not going to blow up the Walmart. She’s probably just trying to buy diapers for her baby. Maybe she could use your help choosing among options she’s never seen before.”

This is true: In America we’re in very little danger from Muslims. Almost every Muslim here, including, most likely, every single one you personally cross paths with, is simply trying to make the best of life. No global domination aspirations. No devious plan to make us live under sharia law. Just a hope, sometimes dim, that their family will prosper and their kids do ok.

As a followers of Jesus then, we’re good to go. We can say “hi,” “welcome,” “do you need help?” Sometimes they’ll be nice. (Like a family was to me today.) Sometimes they’ll be dopes. (Like a guy was to me today.) Either way, can I invite you to trade fear for adventure. . .and maybe love? Give it a try.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “She’s Not Gonna Blow Up the Walmart.

  1. Looking forward to hearing ideas about how to productively engage with Muslims and how to help other people do the same.

  2. Arlene Green

    Will give it a try, I believe my doctor at The Cleveland Clinic is Muslim, he is from India.

  3. Douglas Gentry

    Well done, Shane! Thanks for encouraging fellow Believers to step beyond fear and the unknown to reach out to those who don’t look or talk like us. I really appreciate Missions Catalyst and all you do.

  4. Angela Flowers

    Shane, it was great to visit with you Sunday. Looking forward to some ways to open communication with someone I bump into at Walmart. I always feel like I should say something, but don’t have a clue what..

  5. But even if its true, that she is looking to blowup walmart, does that negate our orders to love our enemies and those that persecute you?

  6. Jon S

    I am fortunate to have several Muslim coworkers, and even attended a wedding reception for one friend in Amman Jordan two years ago – which was a fantastic trip – I spent a week going all over Jordan by myself, and a few days in Dubai. I’m a blonde white guy – so it was obvious I’m not from the Middle East. Nothing but good & kind people that I talked to. (My friend jokingly calls Jordan the 51st state – because it is a very US-friendly country.) When my friend’s wife finally was allowed to move here to the US, I went to the big celebration. I was probably the only non-Muslim there, but all were friendly & glad to have me. Yes, of course I am concerned about the element out there that has bad intentions, that is a real thing. But not among those I know, or those you are likely to meet. You’re more likely to find that there are those who are incredibly kind & generous, others who are dishonest or whatever, and others in between – just like any other group. I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of them, and hope & pray that they are drawn to Jesus – who loves them incredibly.

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