What Just Happened? A Former Muslim’s Thoughts on the “Muhammad Video”

This article was published on Answering-Islam.org on September 13, 2012.

Muslims around the world are angry to the extent that they besieged and attacked the US Embassy in Egypt, the US Consulate in Libya and the US Embassy in Yemen, and even caused the death of an Ambassador and three other diplomatic workers because they felt hurt and insulted by a YouTube video insulting Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

I am an Arab, a former Muslim, and a follower of Jesus Christ. I have been a Christian for over 20 years now. If you read my testimony, you will see that I have my own critique of Islam, Muhammad and the Quran. That critique is based on my personal experience and conviction regarding my former religion, Islam. It is based on what I personally think to be true. So, there is no question that I reject Islam, Muhammad and the Quran.

On the other hand, living in the Arab world for the greater part of my life and later also in the West exposed me to many that reject Islam. I have observed two kinds or groups among these rejectionists which I strongly disagree with.

The first of these groups consists of former Muslims who take their rejection to an extreme. This includes a willingness to twist the truth and mix facts with fiction, in order to taunt Islam and make it appear as evil and as ridiculous as possible.

The second group consists of some extreme Christians from the Middle East who lived under oppression, discrimination or even outright and cruel persecution (either direct or indirect) in their predominantly-Muslim native countries.

These groups feed on each other. The extreme former Muslims (who claim to be Christians) are now placed on a high pedestal by some of those extreme Middle Eastern Christians who invite these former Muslims to their gatherings to tell them “how bad Islam is” (or was) as a psychological reaffirmation for those extreme Christians on why they should “hate” Islam.

I have observed those extreme former Muslims become crusaders against Islam without caring very much whether what they are “crusading” about is true. As long as it can be used to hurt the image of Islam, Muslims, Muhammad or the Quran, then it is good.The same observation can be made about many Muslims who write about the Bible or Christianity, but that is not the topic or concern of this article.

There is no question that this website, Answering-Islam.org, contains strong critique of Islam, but we publish our criticism of Islam with our eyes focused on what is true and can be proven. We try not to exaggerate and are willing to be corrected. Since we started, we have edited and removed several mistakes and unproven ideas from the site. In fact, a number of times I have found myself serving on the site’s inner circles where we review and filter material submitted for publication and sometimes even already published materials, even to the extent of defending the position of Muhammad or Islam against exaggerations or false accusations. We are committed to truth not expedience.

What I have learned from dialoguing online with Muslims in the past 17 years is that we really need to love truth and share it with compassion; we really have to love Muslims and desire them to be saved. A truthful, compassionate dialogue with Muslims regarding their faith, and ours, is what we need. We don’t need smear tactics and hateful anti-Muslim propaganda. And, with regret, I must admit to having naively participated in such things in the past, either because I was not spiritually mature enough or because I had more anger at Islam than I had love for Muslims.

The insulting video about Muhammad titled “The Innocence of Muslims” contains unproven theories and historical errors about the life of Muhammad. I personally think that the makers of this movie, didn’t produce it because they love the truth or love Muslims, but because they are carrying out a personal vendetta by trashing its prophet.

A true Christian is commanded not to hate anyone; we have to love Muslims. If you do not love them, please leave them alone. Do not shout truth with the breath of hate. If you cannot avoid the breath of hate, please sit down and let those who can tell Muslims the truth with the breath of compassionate love stand up and share it with them. As Ephesians 4:15 reminds us, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Finally, although God has given me a new spiritual home and spiritual family, I personally sympathize with you Muslims as your culture is still a part of me, and many in my family are still Muslim to this day and I feel with them the hurt feelings and the insult they suffered. I reject this movie and I testify that it does not truly represent the real Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. In the same time I condemn the violence carried against the US diplomatic missions because violence is a choice among a wide array of possible responses. May God lead us all to genuine repentance over our wrong actions.

My heart’s desire for all Muslims is for them to be saved, “for I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:2-4

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