Myth #3 - Non-Christians (Especially Muslims) Are Hairy, Scary Meanies
by Shane Bennett
Caveat: Yes, many people are suffering at the hands of Muslims. Yes, some Muslims have done mean things on a massive and deadly level. Yes, some verses of the Qur'an suggest that Muslims should kill all who don't believe like them.
That said, personally I know more mean Christians than mean Muslims. Don't you? I know more Christians than Muslims, so I'm not trying to establish a ratio in absolute terms. I'm just saying maybe we need to challenge this myth about Muslims. I've been invited in and served food by Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists alike. I've seen Muslims behave like Jesus, another argument against the meanness assumption, more times than I could relate. And many times that Jesus-like behavior has been directed to me.
Without presuming to address all the issues this entails, can I encourage us as mobilizers to find ways to help people have one decent conversation with someone from another faith? Perhaps you've seen this in Missions Catalyst before, but it bears repeating: According to Dr. Todd Johnson, eight or nine out of every ten Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists do not personally know a Christian (referenced here). A lot of "us" have never met any of "them," either.
A cup of tea and a chat might begin to dispel the "mean" myth.
Matt: My former Muslim neighbours Mohammed and Farnouche from Iran became great friends of ours. Over Persian food and Canadian BBQ, we had some great talks with them through the years. They loved on our young children and gave so freely of themselves. They sure helped break down any stereotypes I might have had of Muslim people. I can only hope that our lives broke down stereotypes of Christians they may have had.