Wednesday, September 03, 2008


The Oxford news says,'A row has broken out after a Christian group organised a day of prayer in Oxford about Muslims during Ramadan.

The Muslim Education Centre of Oxford (Meco) accused Witney-based Open Doors UK of preaching "evangelical propaganda", after the Christian group held a Call to Prayer day in Oxford yesterday.

But Open Doors UK, which held the event at St Aldate's Church, insisted it had been taken out of context, although it "regretted" any offence that had been caused.

A spokesman denied the meeting targeted Muslims, and said its aim was to reduce fear of Islam.

Meco chairman Dr Taj Hargey was invited on BBC Radio Oxford yesterday to talk about the month of Ramadan, and was followed on to Phil Mercer's show by Brother Andrew from Open Doors UK.

Dr Hargey said: "It was only then that I learned they were running a day-long Christian initiative called Call to Prayer.

advertisement"I was flabbergasted and straight away looked at their website. The innocent sounding publicity was headlined 'A Call to Prayer', but Open Doors goes on to call Islam an 'ideology'. I was shocked by their theological self-righteousness. They assume the self-appointed task to 'pray for Muslims'.

"They also say that each year there are incredible stories about how God answers these prayers, revealing Himself to Muslims around the world, and bringing many to faith in Jesus."

Dr Hargey also said the event was advertised with an image of a fully veiled woman, but less than one per cent of women in Oxford covered their faces.

He added: "Not only was this evangelical activity ill-conceived and insensitive, it was grossly insulting and inflammatory to Oxford's Muslim inhabitants.

"At Meco our aim is to bring people of all faiths together, not divide them further. Things like this only serve to break people apart."

A joint statement from Open Doors UK and St Aldate's Church said: "Open Doors and St Aldate's very much regret that offence has been taken by Meco at an event designed to encourage church-going Christians to engage positively with Muslims.

"Hundreds of Christians responded to an invitation that had been sent to churches to a series of meetings held in a church aimed at 'reducing fear of Islam, increasing love for Muslims'.

"Thus we would emphasise that it was not a meeting targeted at Muslims. Before the event we emphasised that we were not denigrating Islam or criticising Muslim beliefs.

"At the same time we do believe that having discovered God's love in Jesus and made a choice to become Christians ourselves, everyone has the right to explore religious faiths and make decisions based on their exploration."

Dr Hargey said that while Meco had been offended, it would not hold a grudge.'

I am trying to work out if Open Doors is being excedingly gracious or dhimmis. I think their so called apology was the mildest possible, but why take this criticism lying down. Cranmer's blog (click on title) is incandescent. I share his (f)ire. A call to prayer by Christians seems to me appropriate at any time and if it is parayer for Muslims, what better day than the start of their Ramadan, their holy month?

This is what gave offence.

'Around the world millions of Christians face persecution for their faith, many in Muslim societies. Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, pioneered the way for Church in the West to reach out to its persecuted family in love, prayer and commitment. Brother Andrew advocates a fresh and dynamic approach to Muslims characterised by the acronym, I.S.L.A.M. — I Sincerely Love All Muslims.

By distinguishing between Islam as an ideology and Muslims as human beings, we seek to reduce the fear of Islam and increase Christians' love for Muslims, for our Lord Jesus commands and enables us to love all people, and the Apostle Paul notes that 'perfect love drives out fear'.

Sunday 31st August is the day before the beginning of Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting). Take an honest look at some of the challenges posed by Islam today and join us as we seek to love, bless and pray for Muslim people in Britain and around the world.'

If this is 'grossly insulting and inflammatory to Oxford's Muslim inhabitants' they are indeed an hyper-sensitive people. Complaining about the veiled woman is silly. The background of the picture shows she is not in Oxford unless its architecture has changed since I last visited when I saw Muslims on the street selling their books near the martys' memorial. Dr Hargey was shocked by 'theological self-righteousness'. He should not be unless he never looks in a mirror. Islam and Christianity have in common a commitment to revealed truth and a missionary zeal. Obviously he judges this right for Muslims and wrong for Christians. Now we know Muslims pray but do they organise meetings to educate their people to show love to Christians and to pray for their conversion? I have not seen any publicised. I wonder why?

'It is a home for everyone who shares its inclusive, modern and enlightened vision and values. MECO’s multi-purpose centre will foster open-mindednes, tolerance and social cohesion for British Muslims by encouraging their effective integration into the UK mainstream. Apart from its role as a haven for thinking Muslims, this institution will generate a spirit of debate and inquiry and pioneer a vibrant and inspirational Islam that is rooted in and relevant to 21st century Britain......
MECO upholds ideological tolerance, inclusiveness and coherent thinking amongst British Muslims and nurtures meaningful dialogue, interaction and harmony with all non-Muslims.'

If this is Meco chairman Dr Taj Hargey's idea of 'meaningful dialogue, interaction and harmony with all non-Muslims'one wonders what his idea of jihad might be.

But MECO does some better stuff, e.g. 'MECO has produced a full page (~600 word) article about Muslim women being forced to wear the niqab by tracing the historical roots for this patriarchal and un-Qur'anic custom.' I applaud their criticism of Muslim Council of Britain who they call New Labour stooges sponsored by the Saudis. MECO are as critical of conservative Muslims as well as we conservative Christians.

1 comment:

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