Feb 4, 2010

How Should Christians and Jews Behave Toward People Who Subscribe to Muslim Beliefs?

Jeffrey SeifBy Jeffrey Seif

Q. Dr. Seif, I notice that your Levitt Letter is critical of Islam as a religious system. So, how should Christians and Jews behave toward people who subscribe to Muslim beliefs?

A. If we applied Jesus’ statement “you’ll know them by their fruits” to Islamic states, we’d see some rotted fruit baskets in the twenty-two Islamic countries surrounding Israel, as they are run by brutal rulers who impose their will through totalitarian regimes (with the exception of Iraq, thanks to the U.S.). By most accounts, family dynamics within those countries and cultures are also oppressive.

Seeking a better life, many Muslims fled to the United States and brought their religion with them. The Bible does not directly address how we are to act toward Muslim residents, but it does describe Godly behavior toward "outsiders" who dwell "inside."

The word “alien” comes from the Latin alius, meaning “other,” and refers to the “outsider” — or to a resident Muslim, in this case. The Law given to Israel, by which they were to govern themselves inside the Land of Israel, also instructed them how to behave toward “other” people — “outsiders.” Let’s see what the Torah says about how Jews were to deal with those “aliens.”

In Deuteronomy 1:9-17, Moses said “You shall show no partiality in judgment,” binding the fairness doctrine for all people and all times. Not only were Hebrew courts to treat non-Jews fairly, Jeremiah 7:6 says that pains were to be taken to ensure that Jews “not oppress the stranger” who dwells among them. The point was reiterated in 22:3 when Jeremiah, like Moses, said: “Execute judgment and righteousness … do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger” — or “alien.” Moses’ writings meant — literally and seriously — that the Israelites who held possession of the Land were to be fair to aliens.

Jesus’ conduct toward alien “outsiders” further buttressed the instruction that we’re not to judge people on the basis of race or creed. His kindness to a Samaritan woman angered some of His disciples (Jn 4:27). He was also benevolent to a Syro-Phoenician (Greek) woman who threw herself at His feet when He visited Tyre and Sidon. Jesus graciously heard her plea and healed her daughter (Mark 7:24-30), showing His lack of prejudice and demonstrating that her tears are no less important to Him than the tears of Jewish mothers.

For the above reasons, we cannot support those who discriminate against others just because they come from another culture or hold a different worldview. Jesus, Moses, and Jeremiah behave another way. Our Judeo-Christian way of life is built upon better principles and we’re not to stoop so low, despite the way that we Judeo-Christians are miserably discriminated against in Islamic countries.

Those who enter our country legally, who wish to integrate peacefully, and behave civilly toward others should receive fair treatment. Those who wish to disrupt our way of life and turn our culture into the miserable type they left behind, who disparage our values and who violate our laws should receive decisive justice — not because they are Muslims, but because they simply are not worthy to live among us.

Related Links

What does the Bible say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination? - GotQuestions.org
The house that God built: The tabernacle in the wilderness - Jeffrey L Seif (Book)
France Refuses Nationality Over Veil - Wall Street Journal
Al Qaeda attack on U.S. months away, CIA director tells Congress - New York Post
The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran - Robert Spencer (Book)