Islam has been much in the recent headlines after the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and the president’s announced strategy for combating the Islamic State. In this context, I found George Carey’s views on Islam to be very interesting. This former Archbishop of Canterbury recently admonished his fellow British citizens: “For too long we have been self-conscious and even ashamed about British identity. By embracing multiculturalism and the idea that every culture and belief is of equal value we have betrayed our own traditions of welcoming strangers to our shore.”
He continues: “In Britain’s hospitable establishment different beliefs were welcomed but only one was preeminent—Christianity. The fact is that for too long the doctrine of multiculturalism has led to immigrants establishing completely separate communities in our cities. This has led to honor killings, female genital circumcision and the establishment of sharia law in inner-city pockets throughout the UK.”
Carey is calling for the authorities to strip British Muslims of their passports if they have travelled to the Middle East to fight with jihadists, or if they are preparing to do so. And he wants Muslim communities in the UK to discipline their young people and denounce fanatical forms of Islam.
Multiculturalism has been a fact in much of Europe for generations. It is built on the philosophy that all truth claims are relative—you have “your truth” and I have “my truth.” Of course, to claim there is no absolute truth is to make an absolute truth claim. If there is only “your truth” and “my truth,” the Holocaust would be “Hitler’s truth” and 9/11 would be “al-Qaeda‘s truth.”
Multiculturalism is especially problematic in relation to Islam. Most Muslims view themselves as members of the “Ummah,” the global Islamic community, before they are members of any other society. Many wish to be governed by sharia, not by the laws of their adopted homeland. They seek the conversion of all non-Muslims to Islam, and resist efforts to engage with non-Muslim cultures.
How can Christians respond?
First, pray every day for spiritual awakening in the Muslim world. As Jesus continues revealing himself to Muslims in visions and dreams, more than ever before are responding to his love. I pray every day for 100 million Muslims to trust Christ this year, and invite you to join me in this prayer.
Second, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in engaging with Muslims in your community. He is already working in their hearts, and will use you to build relational bridges with those he intends you to influence. Make yourself available to him and to them, every day.
Third, see Muslims in the West as a divine opportunity. Many have come to us from lands where Christian missionaries are not allowed. The fact that they are in the dark spiritually is not their fault—they have been deceived by the evil one. You are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13)—if you won’t light your candle, who is to blame for the darkness of the room?
God is changing the world the way he always has—one soul at a time.