Monthly Archives: August 2020

Rapid Fire Bonus Round!

I hope you have absolutely killed this week! I have absolutely just barely made it alive to almost the end of the week! School’s begun here in our little part of the world and that means I’m riding herd over three kiddos doing a variety of in-person, hybrid and full-time virtual school.

This yields two results: I’m hitting my daily step goal walking back and forth between the two kids and their gremlin-infested computers and two, I’m struggling to string together two consecutive thoughts.

Arguably, I’ve never been that skilled at stringing together thoughts, but it’s even tougher these days. As a result, you get the rapid fire bonus round of Muslim Connect today.

Four super quick ideas

David Wood
If you like poking the bear, David Wood might be your guy. He’s crazy smart and pleasingly snarky! His “Five Reasons Christians Should Learn about Islam” video is a great start. His YouTube channel has both brief and long form videos. What sometimes seems to me like lack of respect and honor for Muslims also reminds me that God feels free to use all kinds of people to get his work done.

Pray for Muslim Teachers
Faithful Muslim Connect reader Mert encourages us to pray for Muslim school teachers. He interacted with one yesterday who was praying not to lose her sanity. While we’re at it, let’s spread that prayer net out to include all teachers.

Joke of the Day
Why do Muslims like Covid? Because they’re not getting blamed for it! Yes ISIS desperately tries to validate itself by stepping up attacks and encouraging children (!) to spread the disease to non-believers, but most normal Muslims must be happy that the damage of the virus is not getting pinned on them.

Thank You Video
The annual Muslim Connect summer fund raiser was designated to help me purchase equipment for effective videos. Watch this video that’s both a thank you and a tribute to the success of the campaign.

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Muhammad: Prophet and Pedophile?

You’ve probably heard the basics: Muhammad married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine and he was 53. No way around it, that behavior is gut-wrenchingly wrong. Any place, any time in history: Sex with a pre-pubescent girl is wrong.

If you agree with the age numbers, I assume you agree with the judgment.

Here’s the question: If the prophet of Islam did something as horrendous as that and the 1.8 billion followers of Islam don’t excoriate him, are they not likewise guilty?

And following: If they are guilty of pedophilia, should non-Muslims take against them whatever action is necessary to either change their minds or remove them from society?

Or, is the equation not as black and white as we’d like? Is there nuance?

Turns out not all Muslims agree on Aisha’s age. One Muslim scholar friend responded to my inquiry, saying, “She was 19. I thought this issue was settled by now.” (Honestly, I haven’t been able to discover what percentage of Muslims agree with that and a Christian friend warned me about spreading Islamic propaganda by sharing that idea.)

The complement of Muslims who do agree with the traditional age markers of six and nine must either think pedophilia is ok, have reasoned out a way to deal with it or just ignore the issue. (They wouldn’t be the first religious people to do something like that!)

What about you and me? Would we be more relieved or grumpy should sound research and consensus take the “Scarlet P” off Muhammad’s robe?

If you agree most Muslims today are not “pro-pedo,” (as I suspect you do) what do you say to Christian friends who disagree?

How do our hearts and minds on this issue contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom among Muslims?

Expect re-wording and retracting next week! I’m less expert and more fraidy-cat in this discussion, but my soul resonates with my former organization’s motto: With love and respect inviting all Muslims to follow Jesus.

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In Praise of Hummus

The formerly lowly garbanzo bean is surfing a vegetarianism-fueled wave of popularity in my house. Tonight they found what may be their highest calling: hummus!

Have you had it before? That winsome, garlicky combo of chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. Smooth, savory, creamy and filling. There’s nothing that more fittingly adorns a little triangle of fresh warm pita. (Providing there’s no Nutella on hand!)

I love hummus for a number of reasons: Eating it has never knowingly made me sick in a foreign land. It plates far more attractively than the whole sheep brain appetizer* delivered to our table one time in Damascus! It’s filling, but with a slight aura of healthiness about it. And, finally, it’s preparation has a wide margin of error and a high likelihood of tasty success.

With origins in the ancient Middle East, Wikipedia confesses, “evidence is insufficient to determine the precise location or time of the invention of hummus,” but something like it began to show up in Cairo cookbooks in the 13th century!

Lately, hummus consumption is exploding in the US! In an effort to keep up, American farmers have quadrupled their chickpea output since 2009!

These days you can buy sixteen different kinds of Sabra Hummus, and a “hummus” search on yields seven pages of products! Lots of choices, but it’s actually pretty easy to make your own. Simple, classic, delicious.

Here’s an even better reason to make your own: It offers a solid reason to visit a Middle Eastern grocery and a dead-simple and sensible excuse to engage the kindly, old proprietor (or otherwise) in conversation. “What kind of chickpeas do I start with?” “Which of these tahini’s is best?” And the best one, “When I make this hummus, will you taste if for me and tell me your honest opinion?”

Send me a photo of your next hummus effort and I’ll celebrate with you! Bonus points if you’re eating it with a kindly grocer!

*Yes, those are actually Rice Krispy brains. I couldn’t bear to show you the real thing. Google it for yourself! 

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En Garde!

Did you grow up like me with most Muslims you saw on TV and in movies being big-nosed bad guys, sporting swords and salty snarls in every scene? Want to hear something cool?

Ibtihaj Muhammad is a sword-wielding Muslim: But she’s a woman, not so angry and fights for our side. To clarify, she was the first American Olympic athlete to compete wearing a hijab. And she got a bronze medal for her fencing efforts in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Ibtihaj was born in 1985 in New Jersey to African American parents who’d converted to Islam. They encouraged their kids to play sports, but Ibtihaj was hampered by the conflict between modest Islamic clothing and most uniforms. One day her mom drove by a local high school and saw fencing. She didn’t know what it was, but appreciated the body-covering uniforms! Ibtihaj starting fencing soon after!

She worked hard and rose up through the fencing ranks, eventually, helping the US team take bronze in Rio before retiring from the sport in 2018.

In addition to mastering her sport, in 2014 she launched a clothing line with her siblings. She’s also become a sports diplomat, had a Barbie modeled on her and published two books, a memoir and a book for kids.

Unless you really hate Stephen Colbert, you’ll love this interview he did with Ibtihaj. At least scroll to the 4.30 mark to see his fencing mask reveal!

What’s all this matter to you and me? Two things: 1. Ibtihaj’s story is a fascinating one that merits celebration. 2. If I’m not careful (Not accusing you of this, just personally confessing.), I’ll regard Muslims from a down-looking position of pity. Yes, we all need Jesus. Yes, as well, there’s a higher love than pity.

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