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Reflections on Islam

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Different Pools, Different Fish: The Mistake of 'One Size Fits All' Solutions to the Challenge of Effective Outreach Among Muslims

1/18/17 in Reflections on Islam

“Different fields have different grasshoppers; different pools have different fish.” The wisdom of this Indonesian proverb has often been missed in discussions about Islam and how best to present a useful gospel witness to Muslims. Even many people wholeheartedly committed to reaching Muslims have made the mistake of treating Islam as a monolithic system and proposing “one size fits all” solutions to the challenge of effective outreach among Muslims.

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The Dynamics and Diversity of Islam: South Asian Perspectives

1/3/17 in Reflections on Islam

Well over 500 million Muslims live in South Asia. They reflect what one is familiar with elsewhere, not least in West Asia, but so also the diverse local cultural contexts where they were born and raised. Until recently, Muslims in South Asia were understandably largely overlooked...

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A Muslim Counter-Narrative to Challenge the Islamist Extremist Narrative

10/31/16 in Reflections on Islam

Two old Arab Bedouin sayings are as follows: I, against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world (outsider/stranger); and: The length of our age is less than our spears. Early Islam demonstrated this adage as seen in the murders of the first three righteous Caliphates to the current Sunni–Shia and Salafi–Sufi conflict.

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Islamic Diversity and Missiological Response

10/19/16 in Reflections on Islam

Malik Mumtaz assassinated the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Salman Taseer, in January 2011. He killed in cold blood, publicly, witnessed by many who did not move to stop him. Malik himself immediately and openly acknowledged what he had done.

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Christian-Muslim Relations: Are Missiologists Getting Brilliant on Old Ideas?

10/13/16 in Reflections on Islam

In 1985 when I was applying to PhD programs in economics I went to one of my ex-professors for advice on universities. I told him about one of the schools I had in mind and immediately he said: “If you go to that university you will get brilliant on old ideas.”

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Flush Out Your Toxic Thinking about Islam before Election Day

10/5/16 in Reflections on Islam

As we approach election day, at a time when the question of Islam and Muslims in America has become so divisive, it would be easy to vote for the wrong candidate for the wrong reasons. In this brief reflection, I would like to point out a few mistakes that we often make in our thinking about Islam and Muslims.

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The Western Frontier

8/30/16 in Reflections on Islam

All too rarely does any discussion of Islam in Europe end on a positive note. Commonly, we hear about failures of integration, of the oppression of women and sexual minorities, and in extreme cases, the focus is on extreme acts of terrorism. The prospect that Europe could succumb to Islamic cultural domination is a nightmare that drives nativist and right-wing political parties.

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Breaching the Divide of Islam: Muslim Women at the Margins

8/3/16 in Reflections on Islam

What do Muslim women who advocate for a radical reinterpretation of Islam, Muslim women of the piety movement, and Muslim women activists for social change have in common?

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Mission in a World Gone Wild and Violent: Challenging the Monochromatic View of Islam from a Silent Majority Position

6/17/16 in Reflections on Islam

How do we understand militant jihadism within the grander scheme of the Islamist and Salafist ideologies of the twentieth century? What does a twenty-first-century perspective on the Middle East and global developments tell us?

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A Focus on Muslim Societies at the 2016 Missiology Lectures

5/17/16 in Reflections on Islam

The other day, I enthusiastically invited a Christian friend of mine to attend the 2016 Missiology Lectures at Fuller Theological Seminary on November 3-4. After glancing at the invitation website he remarked: Why are you not focusing on the two hottest issues currently debated in churches, namely the refugee crisis in the Middle East and the ongoing violence by ISIS and other related groups?

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