Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Islamophobia, Deficient Christians, and Fuller Theological Seminary



One crucial difference between Muhammad and Jesus is that Muhammad intended to establish Allah’s kingdom on earth, Jesus did not.  Jesus taught that His kingdom was not of this world, (John 18:36), and that His followers were not to use violence to force people to obey.  Muhammad taught that Allah instructed him to conquer the world, by force if necessary, in order to establish obedience under Allah’s kingdom:

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah."  Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, #387.1

As a result of Allah’s command, Muhammad attacked and conquered many neighboring tribes and forced them to submit to Islam’s rule, thereby growing the Kingdom of Allah.  Muhammad also noted this crucial difference and commented:

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been given superiority over the other prophets in six respects: I have been given words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning; I have been helped by terror (in the hearts of enemies): spoils have been made lawful to me: the earth has been made for me clean and a place of worship; I have been sent to all mankind and the line of prophets is closed with me.  Sahih Muslim, Volume 4, #1062.2  (See also Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, #220).

The kingdom of Allah is both spiritual and physical and Muhammad desired and enjoyed the plunder from his defeated enemies.  Note that “terror” was one of his tools.  (See David Wood’s article: “Allah: The Author of Islamophobia”)

Following Muhammad’s death the successive Caliphs continued his policy in full.  Within 100 years the Islamic kingdom was one of history’s largest empires.  Allah’s command to use force to establish his kingdom on earth is an integral part of Islam’s physical and spiritual approach towards the non-Muslim world.  It has molded Islam into being a religion of temporal power and domination.  Islamic political and martial rule over others is a fundamental Islamic goal and worldly power is the key to that goal.

Today, in accordance with Muhammad’s command, Muslims continue to commit acts of violence and terror to further spread Islam’s domain.  The goal, like Muhammad’s goal, is to terrorize, kill, plunder, and weaken the enemy to further Islam’s rule.  In many cases they have succeeded.  In countries like England, Muslim rape gangs can rape thousands of non-Muslim girls while the authorities turn a blind eye.  (What a horrible embarrassment for the once-great England.)  In majority Muslim countries today, the conquered people, the non-Muslims, are persecuted and discriminated against.  The Islamic government often terrorizes those not obedient to Islam’s demands.  Cases in point, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.  They are not performing acts of terror, instead, the terrorist’s goals are enshrined in their country’s legal code.  As Islam grows stronger, non-Muslims, or nominal Muslims, feel the pain.  This affliction is seen and understood by non-Muslims and Muslims worldwide.

Millions of Muslims worldwide know there is something troubling, something disturbing about the teachings of Islam.  Islam has been shoved down their throats and they yearn for something better.  Other Muslims are beginning to see their faith’s troubling aspects, (you can see this from Mustafa Aykol’s writings in the NY Times).  I’ve been in many discussions with Muslims, and once you can get beyond the debating stage, get beyond the “that’s not Islam” stage, and get more heart to heart, they will tell you about some of the aspects of Islam that trouble them.  I’ve been surprised at how candid some Muslims can be when talking about Muhammad and the bad things he did.  Muslims, like many other people, are yearning for something better, something more real, more personal, and more reliable.

In light of the current hunger by Muslims, and in light of the horrible violence and persistent acts of terror committed by dedicated Muslims, and in light of the overwhelming level of destruction caused by ISIS, wouldn’t you say that understanding Islam, knowing its theological doctrines and tenets, and reaching Muslims with the truth of the Gospel is job #1 for Christians? 

Can you think of a greater need, a greater void, where the love, light and truth of Jesus Christ is needed more?



Our Lord taught us to examine, discern, and evaluate:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15, 16

Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 1 Thessalonians 5:21

We are to perform a ‘quality-control’ check: keep what is good, reject what is bad.

This is what the Lord did when He rejected, and condemned, the Pharisee’s methodology.  Likewise this is what the Apostles and Paul did when they encountered false doctrine.  The early church Fathers did this as well when they established key church doctrine: in doing this they deliberately identified and rejected false doctrine.  These men did not blindly accept any religious statement they encountered.  They took their faith seriously, they were not lax or casual, they did not act stupidly.  Instead, they scrutinized various doctrines and claims, they had heated discussions, they argued and debated, and they sought the Lord’s wisdom in identifying true from false.

We are to do the same.

You do not need to do an in-depth analysis to see that our Lord condemned some of the churches in Revelation for not taking a stand and rejecting falsehood in their midst.  Surely then, we’re expected to identify and reject falsehood and evil.  Let’s be fair, but also rigorous.  Let’s know when to keep an open mind, and when to reject firmly and close the door.

In this vein, myself, and many other Christians like me, have investigated, examined, and evaluated Muhammad and Islam.  We’ve studied the Quran, hadith, sira, and Islamic scholars’ work.  We’re familiar with early Islamic history; the actions of the four “Rightly Guided Caliphs.”  We base our decisions on these writings, teachings, and historical facts.  We’ve seen the evidence, we’ve made a decision: we stand, we speak, and we criticize Islam strongly.  In contrast to the Gospel, Islam is evil, ungodly, and anti-Christ.  We state that Muhammad was a false prophet and that his religion, real Islam, is an evil poison in humanity’s veins.  [If you examine Islamic doctrine and Muhammad’s life, you’ll see that the sins that the Lord rebukes in Revelation 2 parallel the sins of Islam.]  We base our arguments upon Islam’s tenets and tomes, upon Muhammad’s life, his teachings and his actions, and upon the subsequent actions of his closest friends, those that knew him and his commands best.  We base our effort on what our Lord commands His followers to do.  We are not ashamed, instead we are confident that the love and truth of Christ is far, far, greater than the hatred and falsehood of Muhammad and Islam.

I believe the Lord has given us a twofold goal:  to educate the church and our fellow citizens about the darkness in Islam, and to reach Muslims with the Gospel.  This is our work, our labor of love.  This is what the Lord compels us to do.

Islam is 180 degrees out of phase with the Gospel. Muhammad denied that Jesus was the Son of God, Muhammad denied Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, Muhammad denied His work of atonement.  With such a complete rejection of the Gospel, and their faith in a false and evil prophet, how then can Muslims be saved?

The answer is they can’t if they are left with only the darkness of Islam.  Therefore we have worked to bring them the Light of the Gospel.

In this effort, all of the polemicists I know have had a good measure of success.  Polemics, used at the right time and place, as the Lord leads, are very effective.  I do not believe it is the only way to reach Muslims but it is one method the Lord does use.


Having seen the darkness and falsehood in Islam, many Christians criticize Islam strongly.  I have been doing this since the early 90s, long before 9/11.  Our arguments are rock solid and I’ll go so far as to say they are irrefutable.  Unfortunately, Christians who have studied, rejected, and criticized Islam are called “Islamophobes,” sometimes even by fellow Christians.  Those fellow Christians are wrong for doing so.

There also exist worldly organizations, such as International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, (ICRD), and the Dialogue Institute.  They have noble and lofty goals of holding dialogs between members of different faiths and building bridges of friendship and understanding.  I don’t believe this aspect of their effort should be criticized.  However, their leadership goes well beyond those goals and labels people who criticize Islam, including Christians, as “Islamophobes.” 

Some Christian organizations, such as Fuller Theological Seminary, (Fuller), led by Mark Labberton, have joined with them in their ignoble, and un-Christian, effort.

In Oct. 2015, ICRD held a conference, in part to “develop thoughtful responses to Islamophobia.”  In 2016, Fuller published the conference’s set of articles as one of their “Fuller Dialogs.”  Additionally they added a collection of “global responses to the topic from evangelicals and Muslims.”  In total Fuller published about 20 articles.  Many were focused on Islamophobia, other focused upon other related Muslim-Christian topics, (such as the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries), or upon topics related solely to the Muslim world.

You can find the collection of articles here:   Fuller Studio: Evangelicals and Islamophobia

My goals in this article are to examine and challenge the concept of “Islamophobia” as it is widely used, to show why it should be unacceptable for Christians to use the “Islamophobe” slur, and to question Fuller’s support in the furthering of the “Islamophobe” slur agenda against those who criticize Islam strongly.

Fuller’s Claim

Christian colleges exist, ostensibly, in part to prepare Christians for service in bringing that love, light and truth.  The Islamic world has gained ever-increasing attention starting in the 1980s and today many Christian colleges offer degrees, or special focuses, on ministry to Muslims.  One such college is Fuller.  Their website asserts that they endeavor to prepare Christians for such ministry:

Changes in the world today require new kinds of intercultural connection. At Fuller, we see a need for Christians with both solid biblical grounding and a sophisticated knowledge of Islam, who are committed to engaging with Muslims in ways that contribute to the spiritual and social transformation of the most challenging realities of our day. If you feel called in this way, we invite you to join us at Fuller. Our faculty, experienced in research and study of the Islamic faith, will help you understand and think critically about Islam and mission.

Take note, Fuller wants to prepare its students to possess a “sophisticated knowledge of Islam” and to “think critically about Islam and mission.”  I think it reasonable to hold Fuller to that standard?

Fuller’s Articles

Fuller approved of these articles and published them on their website.  To keep things simple I refer to them as “Fuller’s articles.”  Again please note, not all of them were written by Fuller personnel, and not all of the writers were Christian.  I say this because Fuller having published a Muslim’s, or atheist’s opinion, does not mean that Fuller endorses every little theological detail in those articles.  Instead, Fuller is endorsing the composite argument, including the tone and tenor, against Islamophobia.  Therefore, some distinction must be made.  It is here my contention lies and it is primarily focused upon the Christian writers and their themes.

I’ve gone through the articles and I have four significant criticisms:

1) The term “Islamophobia” is an inaccurate word, poorly defined, and is used to stop investigation and discussion. It’s used actually as a “loaded word” meant to trigger a judgmental reaction.  It’s a rhetorical device meant to hinder critical thinking.

2) The articles use “Islamophobe” as a pejorative, i.e. they are simply name-calling. Instead of using coarse or vulgar four-letter words, they call critics of Islam “Islamophobes.”  Similar to this approach people call other people they disagree with “heretics!” “anti-Christs!” “Hitler!” “fascists!” 

3) The arguments of the alleged “Islamophobes” are not examined.  Fuller put money, work, and time into their supportive effort and packaged it as a “Dialog.”   Don’t dialogs offer differing points of view?  Isn’t it then a fair and reasonable expectation to hear, examine, and understand, the differing or even opposing viewpoints?  Instead only one side’s view is offered.

4) The articles approach the subject of Islam in a frivolous fashion.  While they take the subject of “Islamophobia” seriously, they do not take Islam seriously.  Yet Islam, real Islam, is the root of what this argument is about.  None of the articles engage that topic to any degree.

1) The term “Islamophobia” is an inaccurate word, and poorly defined.

The term “islamophobia” is mentioned about 120 times throughout the collection of articles.  However it is a poorly coined word and within the articles it is not defined clearly.

Let’s start with a technical definition. A phobia is defined as:


a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.

a combining form meaning “fear,” occurring in loanwords from Greek ( hydrophobia); on this model, used in the names of mental disorders that have the general sense “dread of, aversion toward” that specified by the initial element:

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent fear of an object or situation.

Note that this term is used relative to mental disorders.

Therefore, an accurate description of the term “Islamophobia” would be “an irrational fear of Islam.”  Yet, when you examine how the writers, and others, use the term, you would see that they are not talking about people who have a mental disorder, or who are irrational, instead, they are using it to describe those who criticize Islam strongly.

Modern usage of “phobia” has allowed its meaning to morph into various shades of a dislike or prejudice against Muslims.  To obtain their goal, the articles follow this indistinct and spacious definition.

Here are some examples from their writings:

“Islamophobia,” a term which, when it was first introduced as a concept in 1991, was defined as an “unfounded hostility toward Muslims.”  Douglas Johnston, p2

Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Howard Cohen, p17

(NOTE: Douglas Johnston notes that the term Islamophobia was first introduced in 1991.  It was actually introduced much earlier than that.)

Throughout the series of articles, when actual people are identified as “Islamophobes” they are not practicing “unfounded hostility towards Muslims.”  Instead these people are strongly criticizing Islam.  I believe that Islam is a wicked religion but I know, and love, many good Muslim people.  I help them, and they help me.  I mean that sincerely.  I know far too many good Muslims to characterize them in a malevolent fashion.  They are excellent friends, people, and citizens.  They should be valued as citizens and treated with respect.  However, when appropriate, I challenge them to take a look at the dark side of Islam.

Take a look at one of Cohen’s definitions of “Islamophobia,” “a strong fear or dislike.”  With such a loose, broad, and imprecise definition, the term xxxphobia could be used against anyone who has a strong dislike for anything.  Fans of the New York Giants might be called “Eaglephobes,” people who dislike gluten might be called "Glutenphobes," and so on.  To label and slur such people, because of a “strong dislike,” is dishonest, stupid, and lazy. 

Take a look at another aspect of Cohen’s definition.  “Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat …”

This is professional doublespeak.  His work could be described in a less kind way.  If there are “real” Muslim threats then shouldn’t people feel threatened?  How then could this fear be contrived?  Otherwise they would be “fools” as defined by the Bible.  Also, the critics of Islam, the “Islamophobes,” as Cohen and the other writers would define, are also found in India, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, China, and include many ex-Muslim critics of Islam, etc.  Hardly a Eurocentric and Orientalist bunch!  I would say that many of these people have encountered the “real Muslim threat” and have taken a stand against it.  Shouldn’t they?  Wouldn’t you?

[Additionally, if you want to read a rambling, incoherent, bubbling brook of bunk, take a look at Christopher Allen’s definition found on page 190 of his article here: Allen  Allen rambles on and on to define his version of “Islamophobia.”  His argument is weak because he needs to babble on and on to define it.  This is not scholarship, this is someone thrashing about in the sea, trying to find a life raft.]

There are honest, sincere, and intelligent people who have addressed the misuse of the word “Islamophobia.”  The Atlantic magazine published an article by Tanya Basu, found here: Sam Harris   She quotes the famous atheist, Sam Harris, on Islamophobia:

When I recently asked Sam Harris what he thought of the word 'Islamophobia,' he directed me to a tweet that noted the following: “Islamophobia. A word created by fascists, & used by cowards, to manipulate morons.”

“I don’t think [the tweet] overstates the case by much,” said Harris, the atheist author whose sweeping critique of Islam (and the "meme of Islamophobia") on Real Time With Bill Maher has sparked a broader debate about Islamophobia—both the phenomenon and the term itself—in the age of ISIS and Islamist politics.

“Islam is not a race, ethnicity, or nationality: It’s a set of ideas," Harris told me. "Criticism of these ideas should never be confused with an animus toward people. And yet it is. I’m convinced that this is often done consciously, strategically, and quite cynically as a means of shutting down conversation [on] important topics.”

“Religions differ, and their specific differences matter,” Harris explained. “And the truth is that Islam has doctrines regarding jihad, martyrdom, apostasy, etc., that pose a special problem to the civilized world at this moment in history.”

Isn’t Harris correct?  He spoke those words in 2014.  Events in the Mideast during the last three years have reinforced the truth of his statement.  Is there any more ugly and evil force at work today in the world besides real Islam, Muhammad’s Islam?  Shouldn’t Muhammad’s Islam, real Islam, the Islam of ISIS, be criticized? 

Harris’s clear and accurate statement makes the writers’ chirping on about Islamophobia sound foolish.  Why should an atheist make a better, a more accurate statement, on a religious fact than the “professors” on our side?

Another person to comment on the term “Islamophobia” is the ex-Muslim Ali Rizvi. During an interview he commented on the word “Islamophobia.”

“Islamophobia” is a misnomer. “Islamophobia” does not make the distinction between legitimate criticism of Islam and anti-Muslim hate or anti-Muslim bigotry. That’s a very important distinction. Islam is an idea. It’s a set of ideas in a book. Muslims are people. It’s an identity. It’s a group of human beings.

Criticizing ideas moves societies forward. Challenging ideas moves societies forward. Demonizing people rips societies apart. And human beings have rights. Ideas don’t.

The word “Islamophobia” does not make this distinction. When we say “anti-Semitism,” we’re not saying “Judaismophobia.” We’re saying “anti-Semitism,” because bigotry is against people. You can’t be bigoted against ideas.

When it doesn’t make that distinction, it’s a very sinister term. Because it actually takes the pain of genuine victims of anti-Muslim bigotry and exploits that for the political purpose of stifling criticism of Islam.

I know I’ve tried to correct that in my own writing, using “anti-Muslim bigotry” when it’s appropriate.  Rizvi

Rizvi is correct.  “Anti-Muslim bigotry” is the term Christians should be using.  I would have no problem if that were applied, not to Islam’s critics, but to actual anti-Muslim bigots and haters. 

Here’s a significant wrinkle on the articles’ use of “Islamophobia.”  Some reference a “1991 Runnymede Trust Report” and credits that article with coining the term “Islamophobia.”  That report has been used by others to advance their arguments against the “Islamophobes.”  The twist is that a leader behind the Runnymede Report, Trevor Phillips, has made some very strong, and critical, statements about Islam recently:

Phillips commissioned “the Runnymede report” into Britain and Islamophobia in 1997 which, according to both Phillips himself and academics across the country, popularised the phrase which has now become synonymous with any criticism – legitimate or not – of Islam or Muslims.

“It’s not as though we couldn’t have seen this coming. But we’ve repeatedly failed to spot the warning signs,” he admits.  … But we got almost everything else wrong.”

“For a long time, I too thought that Europe’s Muslims would become like previous waves of migrants, gradually abandoning their ancestral ways, wearing their religious and cultural baggage lightly, and gradually blending into Britain’s diverse identity landscape. I should have known better.”

And Mr. Phillips even acknowledges that the mass sexual grooming and rape scandals that are plaguing heavily Muslim populated towns across Britain are because of Muslim – not ‘Asian’ – men. He writes: “The contempt for white girls among some Muslim men has been highlighted by the recent scandals in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale and other towns. But this merely reflects a deeply ingrained sexism that runs through Britain’s Muslim communities” – in a nod to those who have long protested this to be the case in the face of political, media, and even police cover ups.

Phillips comments: “Some of my journalist friends imagine that, with time, the Muslims will grow out of it. They won’t.”   Phillips

Phillips’s eyes have been opened.  The reality of the poison of Islam dawns upon his mind’s panorama.  He admits that he got “almost everything else wrong.”  Today, by the Conference’s standards, Phillips would be labeled “Islamophobe.” 

The point here, based on the above articles, is that the term “Islamophobia” was not, or cannot, be defined accurately, precisely, or clearly.  The harder they try the more incoherent their work becomes.  Their definitions are subjective, overly broad, and inaccurate.  Their effort is towards shutting down real dialog, real conversation, about Islam. 

2) The articles use “Islamophobe” as a pejorative, i.e. they are simply name-calling. Instead of using coarse or vulgar four-letter words, they call critics of Islam, “Islamophobes.”

This point ties in with the first point.  There’s another problem with using the term Islamophobe to describe Islam’s critics.  An analysis of the term, “Islamophobia,” was performed by Robin Richardson.  Richardson  She states:

The disadvantages of the term Islamophobia are significant.

2.To accuse someone of being insane or irrational is to be abusive and, not surprisingly, to make them defensive and defiant. Reflective dialogue with them is then all but impossible.

3. To label someone with whom you disagree as irrational or insane is to absolve yourself of the responsibility of trying to understand, both intellectually and with empathy, why they think and act as they do, and of seeking through engagement and argument to modify their perceptions and understandings. 

Despite its disadvantages, the term Islamophobia looks as if it is here to stay – it cannot now be discarded from the lexicon.

The tone of Richardson’s article is actually very sympathetic towards Muslims and is critical of the “Islamophobes.”  But she has enough honesty and integrity to admit that that word is problematic.  She argues implicitly that one should be charitable towards those who disagree with you.  If you want honest dialog about a sincere disagreement, you don’t call your opponents names.

One of the authors is brother Rick Love.  He champions himself as a “peacemaker.”  I believe that if you look at the extent of his ministry that is an accurate and honorable term.  He has his own ministries and websites and he has served the body of Christ in many ways for much of his life.  It is noteworthy that on his website, one of his organization’s team member, Martin Brooks, also recognizes the stupidity of using the term “Islamophobe” against critics of Islam.  In his article here, Rick Love

Brooks states:

(Honestly, I think we even need a new term to refer to this phenomenon. “Islamophobia” is pejorative and alienating to the very people who need to be involved in the discussion).

The definition of pejorative is:

A pejorative (also called a derogatory term, a slur, a term of abuse, or a term of disparagement) is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation or a low opinion of someone or something, showing a lack of respect for someone or something. It is also used as criticism, hostility, disregard or disrespect. …

In light of Brooks’s honest assessment it needs to be asked, “Why is Fuller slurring fellow Christians?”  And Rick Love should explain how he feels that slurring fellow Christians or others is peace building.  Rick has embraced and supported Muslim terrorists, couldn’t he grant a measure of that grace to fellow Christians and those who criticize Islam?

Look, I have criticized a few fellow Christians strongly.  Miroslav Volf and “Harley Talman” come to mind.  Volf equates Islam’s God with Christianity’s God, and Talman honors Muhammad as some type of legitimate prophet.  Both points contradict essential Biblical teaching and are highly objectionable.  However, I backed my argument up with strong Biblical fact and data.  I also examined their arguments in detail.  I bought and read Volf’s books and read Talman’s article many times over.  I went to the trouble to understand their point of view, and why they believed and taught what they did.  However, I disagreed with their conclusions and posted a Biblically-based rejection and refutation.   Biblical teaching condemns their type of syncretism.

We all have disagreements about many things, but we don’t resort to name calling.  We can argue about pre-trib, post-trib, or no-trib rapture.  We can engage in arguments about the TULIP doctrine, Calvinism vs Arminianism, water baptism, speaking in tongues, etc.  But we are usually debating with fellow Christians and we should be gracious and charitable towards our fellow brothers and sisters.  You don’t slur them because they take a different view on a secondary point.   As Luther said, “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.”  In both the Old and New Testaments, the worship of false gods and the acceptance of false prophets is condemned strongly.  Clearly it is an essential.

One Christian brother who has taken a very balanced look at the “Islamophobia” phenomena is Roy Oksnevad.  You can find his article here Islamophobia

In his article here he lists five key aspects that are usually missing from Islamophobia discussions.  You’ll note that these five key aspects are also missing from the articles in the Fuller Dialog publication:

1. Islam is peace: “…Islamic groups, are highly selective in their source documentation, quoting only peace verses from the Qur’an.”

2. Original source documentation:  “When non-Muslims point out from the Qur’an, Hadiths (traditions), Sira of Muhammad (earliest official biography of Muhammad) that Islam has a sordid history of violence, and that these sources provide the example and theological backing for what some Muslims are following, it is met with a cry of Islamophobia or Orientalism[8] (in a negative sense).  This is not an attack on Islam nor is it Islamophobic.  It is an honest look at history which all people need to understand and acknowledge.”

3. Denial of Muslim involvement (in violence and terror).

4. Using Islamophobia as a bullying tactic:  Though CAIR has warned against using bullying tactics of invoking Islamophobia to silence criticism of Islam, it seems that on a popular level this is exactly what is happening.

5. Political Correctness:  Governments that play the political correctness card by referring to the perpetrators of violence from a Muslim background as “terrorists” are denying their serious and conservative interpretation of Islam.

Brother Oksnevad is correct.  The articles ignore Islam’s doctrinal support for violence and oppression, and attempts to bully into silence those who do not ignore it.

Recently, a prominent Canadian civil rights lawyer spoke before the Canadian Parliament on the topic of Islam and Islamophobia:

1) Some fears of Islam justified, human rights lawyer tells M103 committee

A celebrated Canadian human rights lawyer urged MPs to be careful in their use of the term Islamophobia, saying “fear of some elements of Islam is mere prudence.”

David Matas, an Order of Canada recipient who began his career as a clerk for the Chief Justice of Canada in the 1960s, delivered testimony Wednesday before the M-103 committee hearings in his capacity as senior counsel to B’nai Brith Canada.

“Not every fear of Islam is Islamophobia,” Matas said to the House of Commons Heritage Committee, noting that anyone who is not afraid of the various radical Islamic terrorist outfits in the world is “foolhardy”.

“Islamophobia does not appear in a vacuum,” Matas told MPs. “It grows out of a fear of incitement and acts of hatred and terrorism coming from elements of the Islamic community.”

The Winnipeg-based lawyer, who ran for office years ago as a Liberal, recommended the committee take a “dual focus” approach on both those victimized by Islamophobia and those within the Islamic community inciting hatred and terrorism.

Fogel pointed to a Toronto District School Board booklet’s definition of Islamophobia that included mere dislike of political Islam as worthy of censure. “This incident exposes significant problems with relying on ad hoc, inadequate definitions of Islamophobia,” said Fogel.

On Monday, Muslim author and Sun columnist Farzana Hassan told the committee her concerns about how the term is used in other countries to suppress criticism from within the faith.  Human Rights

Matas’s statements are distinct and accurate.  People who wish to think clearly and rationally need to know and examine the facts of a case.  People who fling the “Islamophobe” slur toward those who criticize Islam, without examining their argument, are just trying to shut people up.

An Example

Let’s take a look at an example from one of the articles.  David Johnston’s, “American Evangelical Islamophobia: A History of Continuity with a Hope for Change,” implicitly labels Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, and Robert Spencer as “Islamophobes.”

On the other side, evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson opined that these people are worse than the Nazis: “Adolf Hitler was bad, but what the Muslims want to do to the Jews is worse.” Evangelist Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, quipped that Islam is a “very evil and wicked religion.”  Conservative Catholic writer Robert Spencer, who had already written about the “Islamic threat” in the 1990s, called himself vindicated after 2001, asserting that “violence and terror are fundamentals of Islam.” Though drawing from a vast reservoir of virulent anti-Muslim literature and sentiment, these people were no doubt also influenced by the political matrix of this period.

All three of these men are Christians and brothers in the faith.  I’m sure I would disagree with all three on one religious topic or another.  Yet I am not going to slur them.  The fact that Johnston does not examine their comments, does not examine the “why” behind their statements, does not examine the aspects of their argument, tells me that he is prejudiced and close-minded.

Examine Franklin Graham and his work.  Let’s evaluate his deeds.  Graham leads Samaritan’s Purse, which is primarily a Christian aid organization.  His organization has delivered millions of dollars of aid and tons of food to Muslim countries.  Research it yourself or just check wiki!  Do his deeds paint him as an “Islamophobe” or rather as someone who loves his fellow man, and feeds him, even if he disagrees strongly with that person’s faith?  How then can Johnston call Graham an “Islamophobe,” a “person who hates and fears Muslims” when Graham is responsible for saving and helping thousands of Muslims lives?  It doesn’t make sense does it?  Further, wouldn’t it be fair to say that Graham has helped 100 times the number of Muslims Johnston has helped?  Why then does Johnston slur him?

Likewise Pat Robertson:

Johnston criticizes Robertson for comparing Muslims to Nazis.  But, for the record, I personally knew high-ranking Egyptian Army officers who have told me that they would like to drive the Israelis into the ocean.  This was long after “peace” had been established between the two countries.  I’d say that Robertson’s statement is fairly accurate.  Also, it would not take much effort to peruse some fundamentalist Islamic websites to find strong hatred of Jews.  Better still, you can find multiple terrorist attack events both in America and worldwide, by Muslims attacking Jewish synagogues, meeting places, or shopping areas.  Only a bigoted and myopic hater would fail to see and acknowledge that there is a significant percent of Muslims who want to kill Jews.  Here’s a recent related article:

Annihilate the Jews!

Further, Robertson’s “Operation Blessing” has provided aid to hundreds of thousands of people, including Muslims.  (Take a look at their website to see all the physical needs they meet.)  How then can Johnston accurately castigate Robertson simply because Robertson has criticized Islam, and some Muslims, strongly?

Robert Spencer:

I checked out what Wikipedia had to say about him:

Spencer does not believe that traditional Islam is "inherently terroristic" but says he can prove that "traditional Islam contains violent and supremacist elements", and that "its various schools unanimously teach warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers".[16] However, he rejects the notion that all Muslims are necessarily violent people.[16] He has said that among moderate Muslims, "there are some who are genuinely trying to frame a theory and practice of Islam that will allow for peaceful coexistence with unbelievers as equals."[17]

Clearly Spencer does not hate all Muslims.  Certainly Spencer is 100% correct that “traditional Islam contains violent and supremacist elements.  Even Muslim writers admit that!  It is a fact that Spencer speaks out strongly against “radical Islam” as many others do, including Muslims!  So how then can Johnston call him an “Islamophobe?”

If anything, these fellow Christians are exhibiting love towards their fellow man by speaking out, voicing a warning, and criticizing the evils in Islam.  Yet Johnson wants them to shut up.

Johnston’s work was sloppy and bigoted.  He paints with a very broad brush.  He does not let facts and details hinder his stroke.

3) The Islamophobes’ arguments are not examined.

Islamophobia, was the prima-facia reason for the conference and subsequent publication of the articles by Fuller.  But when you survey the complete set of writings you find one gigantic hole:  why aren’t the Islamophobes’ arguments examined?  What kind of laughable “Dialog” is this when the merits of the opposing side’s arguments are not even briefly addressed?  How the hell is this supposed to enable a Christian to obtain a “sophisticated knowledge of Islam”?

It doesn’t.  It isn’t meant to.

If you were serious about understanding any controversial topic you would ask “why is one side the way it is?”  You want to understand various viewpoints.  Yet nowhere in this entire spectrum of articles is that question asked. 

This “Dialog” was not a dialog; it was a gaggle of croaking crows.  Word of advice to you younger Christians, don’t try having a dialog like this with your wife or good friends.  Even Homer Simpson knows better.

Why did Fuller fail to address, much less even consider the “Islamophobes’” point of view?  This was not a “Fuller” dialog, it was an “Emptier” dialog.

4) The articles approach the subject of Islam in a frivolous fashion.

Muslim terrorists admire and emulate real Islam, Muhammad’s Islam, the Islam that he taught, practiced, and lived.  Conversely, Islam’s critics find fault and offense in Islam, real Islam, Muhammad’s Islam, the Islam that he taught, practiced, and lived.  Muhammad’s Islam is the actual root of what we are talking about.  Yet none of the articles examine Islamic teaching.  Here and there a glib Quran or hadith reference is tossed out but nothing of substance is investigated.

This omission is inexcusable.  How do some 20 articles get published yet nothing of note related to Islamic teaching is examined?  Because Fuller does not take the subject of Islam seriously.

On the other side, there are many Muslim leaders and writers who acknowledge the truth about Islamic teaching and state that there is a vein of violent teaching in Islam.  Here are two examples of Muslims admitting that violence is integral in their faith.

1. Yahya Cholil Staquf is a prominent Islamic religious leader in Indonesia.  He leads Indonesia’s largest religious organization, Nahdlatul Ulama.  It has some 50 million members.  He was interviewed and key comments are found here: Ulama Islam Terrorism

(Note to the reader, if there is any one article that you should read, it is this one.  What Staquf states is exactly what many of so-called “Islamophobes” state).

Some questions, (bold and underlined), and answers are:

Many Western politicians and intellectuals say that Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. What is your view?

Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam.

Radical Islamic movements are nothing new. They’ve appeared again and again throughout our own history in Indonesia. The West must stop ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to “Islamophobia.” Or do people want to accuse me — an Islamic scholar — of being an Islamophobe too?

What basic assumptions within traditional Islam are problematic?

The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, the relationship of Muslims with the state, and Muslims’ relationship to the prevailing legal system wherever they live … Within the classical tradition, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is assumed to be one of segregation and enmity.

Perhaps there were reasons for this during the Middle Ages, when the tenets of Islamic orthodoxy were established, but in today’s world such a doctrine is unreasonable. To the extent that Muslims adhere to this view of Islam, it renders them incapable of living harmoniously and peacefully within the multi-cultural, multi-religious societies of the 21st century.

So the call by radicals to establish a caliphate, including by ISIS, is not un-Islamic?

No, it is not. [ISIS’s] goal of establishing a global caliphate stands squarely within the orthodox Islamic tradition. But we live in a world of nation-states. Any attempt to create a unified Islamic state in the 21st century can only lead to chaos and violence ... Many Muslims assume there is an established and immutable set of Islamic laws, which are often described as shariah. This assumption is in line with Islamic tradition, but it of course leads to serious conflict with the legal system that exists in secular nation-states.

Is it so elsewhere too?

Too many Muslims view civilization, and the peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths, as something they must combat. Many Europeans can sense this attitude among Muslims.

There’s a growing dissatisfaction in the West with respect to Muslim minorities, a growing fear of Islam. In this sense, some Western friends of mine are “Islamophobic.” They’re afraid of Islam. To be honest, I understand their fear … The West cannot force Muslims to adopt a moderate interpretation of Islam. But Western politicians should stop telling us that fundamentalism and violence have nothing to do with traditional Islam. That is simply wrong.

2. The second source is Ibn Khaldun.  He was a 14th century Islamic scholar, historian, and he is regarded as one of the world’s greatest philosophers.  Commenting on the integral relationship between violence and Islam he states:

"... Now in the Muslim religion, which is all-inclusive in its appeal and seeks to convert all, by persuasion or by force, the Jihad against infidels is obligatory. Hence, in Islam, Caliphate and Kingship are conjoined, in order to unite all effort towards a common end. The appeal of religions other than Islam, on the contrary, is not all-inclusive, nor is Holy War permissible for their adherents except in self-defense. Hence their religious leaders do not concern themselves with political affairs, but leave the temporal power in the hands of men who have seized it by chance or for some reason with which religion has nothing to do. Sovereignty exists among such peoples owing to social solidarity, as we said before; their religion as such, however, does not impose any sovereignty on them seeing that it does not demand of them dominion over other peoples, as is the case with Islam, but merely the establishing of their faith among themselves ..." Ibn Khaldun

Both of these Muslim scholars, one current, one ancient but highly respected, state that there is a connection between Islam and violence.  They both agree that violence is integral to Islam. 

All over the world, non-Muslims are seeing real Islam at work.  They are engaging the teachings of Muhammad, and they are reaching the same conclusions as I, and millions of others.  Within real Islam there are some good and some bad doctrines. These bad doctrines are rotten, evil, an inhumane.  Shouldn’t all aspects of Islam be examined when studying Islam today?

( NOTE: Muhammad demanded political and marital rule over others.  This demand for domination and power is similar to the demands of Satan upon Jesus, (Matt 4:8,9), and of the false prophet (Rev 13:15-17, 17:12-14)).


When the leadership of any religious education institution fails to adhere to its proclaimed core principles, its efforts are weak and it produces a crop of poorly trained workers and leaders.  The sheep are fed poorly.  Having reviewed Fuller’s Islamic efforts I can only conclude that they have weak standards and no rigor.  Throughout the articles no stand for Christ is observed.  No stand for the truth of Christ’s teachings and against Muhammad’s lies is made.  Actually, I am not sure if the Christians involved made any general comments to that effect, much less take an actual stand.

I’ve tried to contact a handful of people, including Fuller professors and adjuncts, to discuss their articles.  None of the actual Fuller professors responded, but two non-professors, did.  One discussion was short but satisfying to me, the other was not so good. 

If the Islamic-studies leadership is unwilling or unable to take a stand, then I’d say they are weak, deficient, and defective.  If no voice is given to the opposing side of an argument, no consideration of the destructive tenets of Islam is made, and no contrast between Christ’s and Muhammad’s teachings is noted, then this is just carpet Christianity; only fit to be walked on.  It is the opposite of what Christ expects from His churches.


At the beginning of this article I stated that there exists a deep need for the Church to engage Islam.  Millions of Muslims have converted to Christianity and become followers of Jesus.  They are hungry for truth and hungrier for something deep to satisfy the needs of their souls.  Their need is becoming more acute throughout the Islamic world.  The need is now and it is very real.

A strong church would be in the lead in engaging Islam.  There are many small-scale Christian organizations that are doing so.  They are finding unique and creative ways to present the Gospel to Muslims, they are training their workers to know both the pros and cons of Islam, and, they are not compromising the Gospel’s truth and application. 

Jesus is the bread of life.  He alone can give us the living water to satisfy our souls.

I will say this:  if the church is not strong enough to criticize Islam as it does the “Islamophobes” then the tide will never be turned fully.  But our goal is to not just criticize Islam and prove it is an evil faith.  That’s easy once the Islamic source materials are used.  Our goal is to present the Gospel to Muslims as the better alternative, the truth, one that will satisfy their hunger and bring them into knowing God’s love and loving Him.  Christ gave us two commands:  love God, love our neighbor.  How can a man claim to love God and his neighbor when he refuses to distinguish, much less speak out, between true and false?  How can a man claim to love his neighbor when he refuses to point out that his beliefs are leading him to hell? 

The Islam that we are dealing with is both physical and spiritual and the stakes are ultimately high.  Secular writers realize this, atheists can see this.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Time and again in the past few years I have been asked by Americans who have heard my warnings about the increasingly dangerous impacts of Islam on Western societies: What can be done?  Is there anything we can do?  It is now time to address the all-important question of remedies.  p201

Here is something I learned the hard way, but which a lot of well-meaning people in the West have a hard time accepting: All human begins are equal, but all cultures and religions are not.  A culture that celebrates femininity and considers women to be the masters of their own lives is better than a culture that mutilates girl’s genitals and confines them behind wall and veils or flogs or stones them for falling in love.  A culture that protects women’s rights by law is better than a culture in which a man can lawfully have four wives at once and women are denied alimony and half their inheritance.  … The culture of the Western Enlightenment is better.

Instead of affirming the value of tribal lifestyles, people in the West – activists, thinkers, government officials – should be working to dismantle them. P212

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Free Press, New York, NY, 2010

We are dealing with Islam and comparisons and contrasts are integral to the discussion.  If the Christian workers are ignorant and poorly prepared for this discussion, they usually fail.  I’ve witnessed enough events were sincere and good-intentioned Christians end up humiliated in discussion or debate because they did not know Islam.  Debates are not always necessary and they don’t always happen, but when you are unable to stand and respond, you lose the debate, you lose credibility.

Islam and Christianity are very different.  Brethren, now is the time to stand and speak, it is not the time to bow.


I am only commenting on Fuller’s Islamic-related programs.  Fuller claims to be an Evangelical Christian college and it offers degrees in many disciplines.  For the sake of this argument let me say that I’m sure their other programs are fantastic.  I believe that it has provided great education in those non-Islamic related programs.  No criticism of those programs is intended.  I also know some Fuller grads who have worked very hard in this field and have had a good measure of success.  I am more focused upon what is happening in the more recent years, currently and in the near future.

With respect to its Islamic program, Fuller’s proclaimed standard is for its students to possess a “sophisticated knowledge of Islam” and to “think critically about Islam and mission.”  Contrary to their words, their deeds proclaim the exact opposite.  The goal of the Islamophobia conference, and of Fuller’s articles, was to perpetuate ignorance and not think critically about Islam:  1) they chose to use a bogus, politically correct and emotionally charged word to silence investigation, 2) they used that word as a slur against fellow Christians, 3) they did not evaluate any contrary arguments, and 4) they did not even evaluate Islamic source material, pro or con. 

The world, or dead cultural “Christians,” are not expected to have morals or scruples because they have no real faith.  But God requires His people to be people of integrity and honesty.  We should strive to be accurate, fair, and intelligent.  I suspect that some of their Christian writers knew how poor this theme was so they shied away from writing in depth.

The prince of the power of the air is at work in the world today.  We know that he intends to influence, delude, and destroy.  He makes war upon the church.  Christians are supposed to stand for truth and when this god of political correctness blows upon the church to bend to his immoral will, we are to take a stand.  Unfortunately, many denominations, such as the Episcopalians, have collapsed under his breath.  They have become immoral and are dying.  But isn’t this death, this spiritual death, what Christ promised to the corrupted churches in Revelation?

True Christians are called to love one another.  We are called to be people of integrity.  We should be leading the world in terms of the theological disciplines.

Some of you are called to ministry among Muslims.  I challenge you to think twice before spending your money at Fuller.  Your money is a resource given to you by God.  You are responsible for it.  Use it wisely to further God’s plan for your life.

If you want to serve on the mission field then get a medical, civil engineering, or ESL degree.  You don’t need a theology degree if all you are going to do is pass out milk and cookies in Lebanon.

If all you want is a Th.M or M.Div to put on your resume as a credential then there are cheaper options.  If you want to get an accurate understanding of Islam then I recommend you find a college that is not afraid to challenge you to think, one that has some proven leadership.  I’m sure there are professors there who could challenge you more in one semester of undergraduate or graduate study.  Off the top of my head I think that Wheaton, Oklahoma Wesleyan, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Houghton are better options.  I am sure there are others.

I am an amateur.

I have criticized and challenged Fuller’s Islamic leadership on their approach towards Islam and their use of the term “Islamophobia.”  My position is this:

1) Islam is comprised of a set of teachings, commands, and statements, i.e. they are all ideas formed into a religion.  As such it is fair, valid, and even required, for it to be evaluated and critiqued. 

2) Islam’s teachings, such as the rejection of Christ’s divinity, rejection of Christ’s Sonship, and rejection of His plan for salvation, are false and lead people to hell.  This is the ultimate factor.  Billons have been misled by Muhammad.

3) Islam is a wicked religion.  Its degradation of non-Muslims and women, its justification for slavery, its enshrined use of violence, go against God’s commands and corrupt and destroy humanity.

4) Islam should be criticized strongly.  Those who claim to be shepherds of the church, those who are teachers of the church, should be leading this criticism.  They should not be cowering, they should not be bowing the knee to Satan’s wind.

5) I am attacking the ugliness of Islam, real Islam, Muhammad’s Islam.  There are many great, wonderful, Muslim people, who are moral and kind.  They are friends.  They should never be harmed or discriminated against. 

If I am wrong in any of those statements above, it should be easy for a Fuller Islamic-ministry scholar to prove me wrong.  Perhaps I’ve missed a sura in the Quran, perhaps I’ve overlooked something in Bukhari or Muslim, maybe there are some sira chapters I’m unaware of.  Prove me wrong.  It should be easy for you.  Otherwise repent, because you are damaging the body of Christ.




1.  Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan

2.  Muslim, Abu’l-Husain, “Sahih Muslim”, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1971, translated by A. Siddiqi


in Christ,
silas 13/12/17