A hidden agenda, circular reasoning, mistranslations and quoting out of context are a few “tactics” missionaries employ to convert Muslims, according to a Web site about Islam.
Cyber Islam (www.cyberislam.com), founded two years ago by Muslim students Refai Arefin and Abbas Peera, “is a non-profit, non-political, non-partisan organization that aims to present Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslims in an intellectual, informative, and interesting perspective,” reads the site. Its goal is to provide “traditional Islamic knowledge” based on the Qur’an and the life of Muhammad.
It also offers a “Guide to Missionary Tactics” to help Muslims deal largely with Christian missionaries who “use deceitful methods and harass communities” like a “focused door to door salesman.”
“We hope that Muslims, Christians and Jews will find ways to work together to bring peace on earth by eradicating immorality, fear, hate, disease, poverty and injustice,” the site reads.
The site introduces Islam, explores Muslim beliefs and practices, and connects members of the Muslim community. It also offers the full text of the Qur’an—in English, Arabic and in transliteration.
Any translation of the Qur’an, the site says, contains errors because it no longer exists in its original Arabic: “Any translation of the Qur’an no longer retains that ‘official’ and perfect status, however it can be tremendously helpful to beginning students wanting to learn more about Islam.”
Christians will find one part of the site particularly fascinating: a synopsis of the origins of Christianity.
“Paul was a staunch opponent of prophet Jesus and remained so for many years after his ascension,” the site reads. “When he did join the followers of Jesus later on, he initiated many alterations in the teachings of Jesus in hopes of winning over the Gentiles (non-Jewish people).”
A section on the history of the Bible commands attention as well. The same importance attached to the original language of the Qur’an is given to the Bible.
“It fell to the lot of the Christians whose vernacular was Greek to transform the oral traditions [of Jesus] into writing,” the site reads. “It must be borne in mind that Christ’s native tongue was Syriac or Aramaic and his disciples, too, spoke the same language.”
Other engaging sections for Christians deal with differences among Christianity, Islam and Judaism regarding the treatment of women; the relationship between Jesus and God; the sign of Jonah; and the gospel of Barnabas.
The “Issues and Opinion” section offers articles on alcoholism, liberalism, human rights and much more. One also finds the “Guide to Missionary Tactics” in this section.
The site is user-friendly, with clear divisions and plenty of information. For example, there are over 1,000 articles about Muslim beliefs and practices. But beware of several broken links and missing images.
Many of the site’s materials come from the Institute of Islamic Information and Education, and the Islamic Society at the University of Northumbria (UK). The site’s developers are also actively seeking more contributions, both written and artistic.
Christians should visit CyberIslam.com for at least two reasons: 1) It’s an easy way to learn more about Muslim belief and practice; and 2) It’s an opportunity to see how Christians are perceived, at least by some.
To see oneself through the eyes of another is a gift. And for Christians to see themselves through the eyes of Muslims is—at this point in history—a step toward understanding.
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.