Century Marks

Century Marks

Judgment postponed

The medieval concept of irja could be an antidote to Islamic extremism. The word literally means “postponing” and was used by some Muslim thinkers during the first century of Islam. Known as Murjiha—the postponers—these scholars argued that the issue of who is a true Muslim should be postponed until the afterlife. Faith is a matter of the heart, something God alone can judge. This notion died out and is now considered a heresy among orthodox Sunnis. Muslims who are not willing to kill apostates are viewed by ISIS leaders as guilty of this heresy (New York Times, December 21).

Bombs away

In a recent poll, 30 percent of Republican primary voters said they would support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah, however, is a fictional country with a Middle Eastern–sounding name (Guardian, December 18).

Direct appeal

Scores of Chris­tian theologians and pastors have signed on to “An Appeal to Christians in the United States,” warning Christians about falling prey to the politics of fear. The statement critiques politicians who marginalize and stereotype subgroups—African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, the mentally ill, refugees, and immigrants—and it laments the proliferation of guns. Additional signatories are sought for the appeal, which can be found at www.JournalforPreachers.com.

Living with terror

The town of Garissa lies in a mostly Muslim part of Kenya. Last April members of the terrorist group al-Shabaab killed 150 students at a college in Garissa attended mostly by Christians. Now the Christians in Garissa meet for worship under police guard, which includes Muslim officers. The local priest welcomes the protection but remains worried by the threat of militant infiltration. Some Muslim leaders have also expressed concern about killings and disappearances of Muslims during security force raids on al-Shabaab (AP).

Rooms at the inn

DH Food and Lodging in St. Jacobs, Ontario, which was planning to close two days before Christmas, will now house Syrian refugees temporarily through the Canadian government’s refugee resettlement program. Staff from Reception House will be on the job to meet the needs of the refugees. The hotel’s owners are committed to housing the refugees through January while longer-term arrangements are being made. Churches in the area are working on finding temporary private lodgings (CTV Kitchener News, December 8).