Monthly Archives: May 2019

A Lifetime in One Night

Oh, sure, “A Lifetime in One Night” would make a great title for a romantic comedy. In this case, however, it refers to Laylatul Qadr or the Night of Power, the most potent night of Ramadan, the Islamic fasting month. It is said this one night is better than 1000 months, or the average life expectancy of a Dutch woman!

According to the Quran, “We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace!… This until the rise of dawn!

My friend Ash, who grew up in a Muslim family describes it this way, “It is the holiest night of Ramadan. Muslims believe Mohammed received the first verses of the Quran on this night. The Quran says that angels are sent on this night, and Allah forgives those who are faithful to him.”

I didn’t grow up with anything even roughly parallel to this event and it’s a little hard for me to wrap my head around. My read is, though, that this is a big deal for faithful Muslims.

As such, I’d like us to pray specifically ahead of and during this evening, which will be tonight or tomorrow night (May 31 or June 1, 2019), depending on factors I don’t totally understand!

Can I invite you to visit the Muslim Connect Facebook page and post a prayer of blessing for Muslims as we enter the Night of Power? (If you’re not a Facebook person, feel free to send a prayer to me and I’ll post it for you.) Thank you.


Check out this 40-second video, featuring the just arrived Muslim Welcome Cards! 

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Watch Out for Those Fast(ing) Little Muslims

A good bud recently sent a link to an article describing legal action the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund took against two school districts in the Seattle area. According to the article, “The schools are accused of implementing pro-Ramadan policies that are being followed during the Islamic holy month. . . .”

It seems the Washington chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent an email advising schools how to care for Muslim students during Ramadan. They encouraged greeting Muslim students with Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan), providing a location to sit out lunch and not scheduling finals on Eid, the celebration at the end of Ramadan.

At least two school districts passed the guidelines on to their principles and teachers. When a teacher and some parents complained, the FCDF stepped in, saying the schools were, “running roughshod over the First Amendment’s mandate of government neutrality toward religion.”

To me, the CAIR guidelines seem more a helpful tool for schools with growing Muslim populations than advocacy for special treatment or something more nefarious. Yet the media reports generally don’t see it that way, sometimes emphatically decrying the situation.

So what do you think is going on here?

  1. Is it a component of a slippery slope toward too much Islamic influence, even domination?
  2. If you can’t say Merry Christmas in school, you should not say Ramadan Mubarak?
  3. Christianity is losing its status as the religion of the state and Muslims are the ones who currently get the blame?
  4. Something else entirely?

My initial, admittedly cynical, thought is that the alarm is designed to get page views and generate ad revenue. And (really cynically) maybe to keep those Muslims and other foreigners in check. But I honestly want to understand better what’s going on. What are your thoughts? Care to comment? I’d be grateful if you did.

Want to hang out with the tribe? If you’re connecting with Muslims on a regular basis and would like a weekend of connecting with others like you, attend one of two upcoming gatherings. No speakers or workshops, just like-minded followers of Jesus sharing wins and losses, encouraging each other and seeking God together. Northwest: June 14-16. Southern California: September 20-22. Email me for details.


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Me? Islamophobic? Good Heavens, No!

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding recently released their American Muslim Poll 2019. Since the whole of my limited social science experience has been qualitative, rather than quantitative, you’re likely a better judge of these findings than me.

I make no claims for the veracity of this study (though it looks reliable), but want to share the statements underlying their Islamophobia Index and two conclusions which encourage me to keep writing Muslim Connect.

According to the report, “The Islamophobia Index is a measure of the level of public endorsement of five negative stereotypes associated with Muslims in America.”

1. Most Muslims living in the United States are more prone to violence than others.

2. Most Muslims living in the United States discriminate against women.

3. Most Muslims living in the United States are hostile to the United States.

4. Most Muslims living in the United States are less civilized than other people.

5. Most Muslims living in the United States are partially responsible for acts of violence carried out by other Muslims

What does this list stir in you? For me? Well, I’m saying “mea culpa” to some of them and for others, “Is it a stereotype if it’s true?” Dang it. I know better!

After illustrating at length that white evangelicals (Again, mea culpa!) score higher for Islamophobia than any other profiled group (Jews won, if you’re keeping score!), the report points out two things which correlate with lower scores on the index:

“Simply knowing a Muslim. . . cuts one’s likelihood of negative perceptions in half.”


“Knowing something about Islam is an even stronger predictor of lower Islamophobia than is knowing a Muslim personally.” (Tweet this.)

There you are. Let’s keep learning and let’s keep meeting and befriending Muslims. Toward that end, I’d like to encourage you to grab some Muslim Welcome Cards to hand out to newcomers you see. These are wonderfully practical and tangible ways to say you care.


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Special Edition: Ready-Made Muslim Welcome Cards

You leave the grocery store and notice a Muslim couple walking your way across the parking lot. You feel like a brief chat would be a good idea. You’d like to let them know you’re glad they’re here, that you want your town to be a safe, good place for them. What do you say? What do you do?

Maybe you’re like me: By the time you get your wits collected, the moment is gone, they’re in the store and you’re starting the car.

If only we had a go-to tool, a comfortable way to communicate, “Hey, I just want to say, ‘Welcome,’” maybe we could do it.

The idea last week of a Muslim Welcome Card appealed to many of you. Over 300 people clicked through to see what my friend Joy gives to welcome newcomers to her town.

Although you could make your own card, maybe you have a life! A ready-made card might be really helpful.

With Joy’s blessing I designed a card for women and one for men on which you can write your own phone number or email. This might be just the tangible little thing to help you break the ice, to do a small, good thing in your community.

Each time one of us hands out one of these cards, a bit of God’s love goes forward.

Check out the designs and get a stack for yourself. The proceeds will help Muslim Connect continue to get out. On your way there, join me in praying that 10,000 Muslims will receive one of these cards from a normal Jesus person like you and me over the coming year.

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