Walking away from revenge

By a Media team member

While living in the Islamic world, I had an English student who required some extra tutoring. This young man would come to my office before class to get assistance on the finer details of this difficult language. One day, he shared with me that he, his brothers and a cousin would be going that week to execute revenge on another cousin who had stolen a vehicle from his father’s business. Rahim* spoke matter-of-factly about the weapon they would use, the method of execution and the importance of blood being spilled. This, to him, was the only way that honour could be restored to his father’s name. Blood had to be spilled. I trust my face didn’t display the horror my heart was feeling as he talked.

As calmly as I could, I expressed my concern about how this way of handling conflicts would simply perpetuate further clashes.

His response was, ‘But you don’t understand our culture, teacher; you don’t understand our deen (religion).’

As we discussed the situation further, I asked, ‘How does your father feel about this?’ to which he replied, ‘My father is soft. He doesn’t think we should do it, but we see no other way.’

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No healing without forgiveness

By the Director of Arab World Media

So what can you do in the midst of adversity? You can kneel; you can weep, and weep, and weep. Complain if you must, groan if you must, and get angry if you must. This you can do. There is one thing you must not do. Dear brothers and sisters, stay far away from bitterness and from blaming others. No matter what it is, don’t blame others. Do that and you are dangerously close to forfeiting all future spiritual growth. (Gene Edwards)

Forgiveness is a choice. We all know this. Choosing to forgive in the face of hurt, injustice, or tragedy becomes a tremendous building block for our faith. Choosing not to forgive, however, is a stumbling block that hinders our spiritual growth. While an unforgiving spirit produces bitterness, anger and hatred, an attitude of forgiveness brings love, joy and peace, and enables us to live in freedom before Christ.

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Reaching ‘Samir’

Meet Samir, a young man in his twenties or thirties. He wants to know the truth, has rejected Islam, and is most likely an atheist. He seeks answers to intellectual questions and is looking to be part of a community based on love. He has a need for certainty about what is true, and may believe that religion and science do not mix.

It’s hard to believe that a person like Samir exists in the Arab world but, surprisingly, atheism is on the rise. At one time we could rely on the common ground of a belief in God as the starting point for discussions about faith, but now we cannot always take that for granted. 

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Highlights from 2014

We asked several members of the Media team what their highlight was for 2014. Here are their replies…

I think a highlight of 2014 for me was launching the Live Chat module on Maarifa. Our response team first requested this at our meetings in June, and it was finally launched in late October. Since then we’ve seen hundreds of visitors making use of it, with several actually giving their lives to Christ during a chat session.

Web Developer

I think a highlight for me was launching the first of our self-help modules for women, on depression. I was excited to get this tool into people’s hands. It was amazing to see that in one month from the time it was launched, the self-help video was downloaded over 16,000 times! It is wonderful to think of people looking at this on their phones, sharing it with friends, bringing hope and help into dark corners all over the Arab world.

Online Ministry Director

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Looking for answers

Where does a Muslim go for answers? Raised in an environment that actively discourages questioning of any kind, more and more are turning to the internet. As the Middle Eastern world goes through ongoing upheaval, our online Arabic website is inundated with inquiries. Live chat sessions and our chat rooms are also full of activity. Muslims are increasingly disillusioned with Islam. This year’s events throughout the world – the attack on Canada’s parliament building in October, the hostage taking in Australia’s coffee shop, the beheadings of tourists in North Africa… are causing Muslims to reconsider what they have always believed to be the truth.

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Love never fails – fear or love?

Beheadings… fleeing refugees… persecution… As we watch today’s headlines from the Arab world, we feel helpless. We know that God calls us to love, but how is it possible in the face of such turmoil, hatred and suffering? Satan’s weapon is fear, and he uses it to ensnare followers of Islam and counteract the advancement of the gospel.

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Love never fails – victims of war

Societies in the Arab world are descending into chaos and violence. In the desperate war-torn countries of Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, people are overcome by fear and dread. Their homelands are being destroyed and, according to the UN, they are becoming failed states. It is no wonder that we receive messages such as this:

I so desperately want to know more about Christ. I don’t know why, but a strange feeling comes over me, and I am afraid of everything around me.

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Love never fails – women at risk

Women across the Arab world have been abused, misused, humiliated, oppressed, assaulted and raped in alarming numbers. War has torn apart their families and lives. They are crushed and without hope. Jesus wants to compassionately care for them and restore them.

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