Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a dangerous world. We don’t know whether, when or where terrorists will strike again. If elected, I will do all that is humanly and humanely possible to protect this nation and its people. But I must level with you: there are no guarantees of safety. And the search for absolute security is itself full of risk.
Most Americans, including most American Christians, are woefully ill-informed about Islam. It would seem like a good idea, then, to invite one of Europe’s leading Muslim intellectuals to teach in the heartland of America at an institute devoted to peacemaking and to understanding the religious dimension of conflict.
The U.S. does little and the rest of the world does less
Oct 19, 2004
What happened to the United Nations?” asked Haruun Ruun, executive secretary of the New Sudan Council of Churches. “The killings and rapes are still happening in Darfur.” Ruun was in New York last month to press the UN to impose sanctions on the Sudan government, which has implicitly backed the marauding Arab militias that have terrorized the black population in western Sudan.
While visiting Istanbul this summer, an American pastor stopped to look an outdoor display of photos depicting American soldiers’ abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The pastor noticed that a Turkish man viewing this gallery of atrocities was getting visibly agitated.
Talk about unity amid diversity in the church can seem hollow, especially as people confront deeply controversial issues. The gossip in the halls of denominational assemblies recently has been about possible schisms over the issue of homosexuality. Fragmentation, not unity, seems the experience of our times.
Thirteen nuns who were kidnapped from their monastery north of Damascus last December were released in March in an apparent exchange for prisoners held by the Assad regime. Despite this good news, Christians in Syria continue to be under siege. A jihadist group in the city of Raqqa gave local Christians an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a protection tax, or be killed. Although accurate numbers are hard to come by, one estimate says that 450,000 of the 2 million Syrian refugees are Christians. Syrian Christians who have fled their war-torn country report kidnappings, murders, ransacking of their shops, and pressure to convert (Christian Science Monitor, March 10).