Monthly Archives: February 2020

Muslim “Camping” Connect! 

It’s Narnia here in Southern Colorado. While we wait for the calendar, and Aslan, to bring spring, my thoughts range beyond the snow to the summer sure to come. A friend wrote recently about an idea I’m eager to try, once the melt arrives.

A cross-cultural superhero, Jon, explains, “One of my passions is backpacking, rafting, anything outdoors really.”

[Does that have anything to do with connecting with Muslims? Turns out it does!]

Many of the international students Jon works with are young men from North Africa and the Middle East. Before oil was discovered in their countries, their families lived a very simple, often rural, lifestyle. Backpacking may not be part of their culture, but they know the lure of the wilderness, where they can set up tents and get away from it all.

“And for the guys, they like adventure. They all come wanting to explore this country and end up sitting in class most of the time. Most. . .are bored!” The hiking and camping trips Jon organizes for international students give them something exciting to do.

These trips also provide handles for volunteers who want to get their feet wet in international student ministry. They have the chance to make new friends. Some end up bonding with the students on the long road trips, forming relationships that develop further from there.

Getting away from homework, routine, and the business of daily life also encourages greater reflection and fosters deeper connections. “Something amazing happens around the campfire,” says Jon. “Almost always the conversations turn to faith.”

Want to join me in multiplying this idea? I just emailed some nearby friends who engage with international students. This summer, come to Colorado and join us in the great outdoors! Or organize your own day hike or camping trip. Give me a shout if you need help finding a connecting point with international students.

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Who Will Get the Muslim Vote?

So, it’s pretty much a given the U.S. will choose a president in a few months. Although the Facebook post claiming, “In 20 years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the president” is patently false, Muslims may make a difference this fall.

I’ve been wondering lately how Muslims tend to vote, for whom and why.

Why does this matter? I suspect most Muslim Connect readers tend to vote conservatively. Since data indicates that most voting Muslims tend blue, there’s a big difference here. If we’re going to connect, we might as well get stuff like this on the table and talk about it.

In a funny and poignant New York Times opinion piece, Wajahat Ali quotes Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Barnard College, who concedes that he’s a tad bitter about his political options, “As a Muslim, I’d vote for Jesus, but the Republicans won’t let him in, and the Democrats don’t believe in him.”

My reading today indicates that Muslims are skeptical of Democratic advances and don’t feel sought out or heard, but, according to Haroon Moghul, the other alternative is to “vote themselves off the island!”

It seems there are a few Muslim Republicans, but a strong majority of Muslims will vote Democratic this Fall. And apparently Bernie Sanders is the leading candidate of choice for Muslims right now. Check out #Muslims4Bernie and #InshallahBernie. I don’t pretend to fully understand why he’s the favorite, but he’s seen as the one who’s done more to hear, validate, support and defend Muslims.

I’m curious how Muslims integrate fairly conservative views on marriage and homosexuality with Bernie’s liberal views and agenda.

According to the Economist, “In 2001, a survey of American Muslims found that 42% reported voting for Mr. Bush against 31% for his Democratic rival Al Gore.” So much has changed since then.

Got thoughts on this? Please share them below.


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The Coronavirus vs. The Dome of Protection

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I live in a pretty remote part of the US. It’s only 45 minutes to Walmart, so I’m ok, but there aren’t many people around here. This low density works in our favor when it comes to the coronavirus. You can’t catch it if the sick people are far away! And people around here grouse about traveling to Denver, let alone China!

While grateful for the low risk, I’m concerned for those without my advantages, particularly Uyghurs in western China. I recently asked you to pray for the million or so Uyghurs imprisoned in concentration camps.

Survivor reports detail gruesome conditions. As I write only a couple dozen cases have been reported in Xinjiang, the home state of Uyghurs, but we can imagine how quickly an outbreak might spread through a crowded, unsanitary camp. The death toll could be horrendous.

Will you join me in prayer again for Uyghurs? Here’s the picture in my mind: Remember in Exodus when Moses would call down a plague on Egypt, frogs, for instance, none hopped into Goshen where the Jews lived. It was like God locked down an anti-frog, fly, hail, angel of death dome over them. I want that for Uyghurs, particularly those who are unjustly incarcerated. And, while we’re at it, for their kids currently living with relatives or shipped off to orphanages. (Tweet this.)

(To be clear, this parallel is one-sided. The coronavirus is not a plague from God on China. I just want the protection dome!)

Two small things to add to your prayer:
Watch this video on the unfolding situation for Uyghurs relative to the coronavirus. I believe it’s made by Uyghurs, so the passion runs high.

Please share this with friends who might pray with us. May God rally thousands to seek his protection for these dear people at great risk who don’t know how much they’re loved. Thank you.

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