By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
February 3, 2016
HICKORY – During January, The Hickory Daily Record ran a feature story on Duane Muhammad, a middle school teacher and active community member, who is also Muslim.
The article provided such a positive spin on Islam that it precipitated a collaborative response from various North Carolina Christian-based organizations and pastors who felt the need to set the record straight.
The story, Hickory Community Member Serves, Teaches with Love of Allah highlighted Muhammad’s history of introducing residents to the religion. The Navy and Coast Guard veteran moved to Hickory 18 years ago and said that when he arrived there were no Muslims. So he organized a study group where the Quran could be taught, and people slowly started coming.
Muhammad alleged that people in the Hickory area who expressed an interest in Islam had often suffered from persecution. He said the depth of misunderstanding was not only local, but nation-wide.
Affectionately referred to by many as “Brother Duane” and a member of the Catawba Valley Interfaith Council, Muhammad argued the religion of Islam does not worship a different God than the One most people worship. He claimed Jesus was a Muslim. He contended the heart of the Muslim faith centered on peace, saying there was no such thing as “radical Islam” and that terrorist attacks were not connected to Islam’s teachings. He further asserted that he found Islam to be more accepting of religious inquiry.
Concerned that the Hickory Daily Record’s readership of nearly 24,000 people in Catawba County and its surrounding communities were being misled, Dave Kistler, head of the North Carolina Pastor’s Network (NCPN), thought it was necessary to prepare a response, which NCPN purchased in the form of advertising space.
See full ad by clicking here.
Titled, Understanding Islam: A Collaborative Response from Committed Followers of Christ, the ad begins:
“In an effort to explain, clarify, or justify Islam’s involvement, visual media, print media, and numerous defenders of Islamic ideology, have perpetuated a variety of falsehoods. It is our intent to address those inaccuracies.”
The ad contains signatories such as the president of NCPN, Dave Kistler and its executive director, Dr. Ken Carrico, Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastor’s Network, Tom Wallace, president of Fortress of Faith Ministries, Dr. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist, Charlotte, and Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, as well 15 other local religious leaders.
“Without a doubt, the most overtly misleading statement is the oft repeated assertion that the term ‘Islam’ means ‘peace,’” says the ad. “According to Islamic theology/ideology, peace can only be procured when those who refuse to submit are eliminated, leaving only the devotees to Allah.” The ad further contends that, regrettably, most Americans are ignorant of Islam’s actual teachings. “Hence, they read/listen to the seemingly peaceful remarks of Islam’s professed followers and accept them at face value, not knowing that Islam’s 1400 years of advancement has always been via the sword. Seldom is reference made to the first nine chapters (surahs) of the Koran, in which the most overt statements about treatment of infidels, or unbelievers (the kufar), are made.”
The second error regarding the Islamic faith the ad addresses is the suggestion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, “and that Jesus himself, was a Muslim.”
“The Bible clearly teaches that Jehovah God has one son, Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself flesh, lived a sinless life, died on a cross, and rose again for the purpose of forgiving the sin of the world,” reads the ad. “Those who rabidly adhere to the teachings of Islam, and its accompanying Sharia Law, declare a message of violence. The Bible, and those who follow Jesus, declare a message of redemption and peace through Christ.”
A third inaccuracy tackled is the “claim that most acts of terror are committed by non-Muslims.” The ad continues by correctly asserting that the overwhelming number of recent terrorist attacks were perpetrated by those who said that they were doing so in obedience to Allah.
The ad reads: “All terror groups – Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Ansar al Islam, Ansar al Sharia, Al Shabaah, the Mujahdeen, Boko Haram and ISIS – have one thing in common. They all have 100% Muslim membership. Tragically, these terrorist entities are not aberrations of Islam, they are the very essence of it.”
Kistler says the ad was slated to run four times this week in the Hickory paper and has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. He also says it could not have come at a more critical time, noting that this week a grand jury in Burke County indicted a young man accused of planning an IS-inspired attack and also killed his neighbor.
Kistler said, “Lord willing, the ad will soon be running in the Morganton News Herald. And in light of the President’s visit this week to a mosque with known terrorist ties, I think its all the more important that we get this message out in as many places as possible.”
Dr. Mark Creech said he was proud to be one of the ad’s signatories. “I know the signers, like myself, will be labeled by those on the left as bigoted, hateful, and intolerant. But there is currently much at stake in this country, and this is no time for equivocations. The church must act now as watchmen on the wall. Every adherent of Islam is not a threat, but to actually understand the religion is also to understand it is the motherload of dangerous ideas,” said Dr. Creech.
Related Article: Read Dr. Creech’s editorial, “There I Said It: Islam is the Enemy”