A Seattle-area church is reaching out to Muslims by having area pastors sit down over dinner with imams affiliated with the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations to share their religious beliefs.
Michael Ly, associate pastor of Soma Church in Renton, Wash., believes the project will open doors for further understanding between the two faiths.
The Seattle Times reported Ly believes that reaching out to Muslims with friendship is what Jesus would do.
But Crosstalk radio host and cultural analyst Ingrid Schlueter believes the effort is outrageous.
“There is a two-pronged outrage. The first outrage is that we have an evangelical pastor once again giving aid, promotion and legitimacy to a group that has been called unindicted co-conspirators,” Schlueter stated.
Listen to an interview with Schlueter:
“Imagine that, unindicted co-conspirators for terror by our own FBI and that’s what CAIR is,” Schlueter said.
“The second outrage is that the pastor of this church apparently believes that conducting potlucks and hosting tours of mosques for Christians and churches for Muslims is going to somehow fulfill Christ’s command to preach repentance and remission of sins,” Schlueter added.
Schlueter believes that the Great Commission that Christ gave to the church is best understood through a direct proclamation of the Gospel message.
“All the good intentions and all the group hugs in Seattle are not going to accomplish the commission that Christ gave us to preach the Gospel to every nation,” Schlueter stated.
WND reported May 4 that Ly was aware of CAIR’s involvement in the previous interfaith dialogue session.
Ly said that Washington state CAIR chapter president Arsalan Bukhari introduced him to the Muslim Association of the Puget Sound’s Redmond leader and “helped us get the Qurans we used.”
The present project will have the direct involvement of CAIR’s Washington state chapter. The Seattle Times reports that CAIR’s Bukhari is involved in linking mosques to churches.
“When you look at the agenda of CAIR, this is an organization that the FBI will no longer work with because it is connected to terrorist organizations. It was an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism funding scam in U.S. history,” Fischer explained.
Listen to an interview with Fischer:
“The roots of CAIR go back to the Muslim Brotherhood. We know of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood from a 1991 memo. The agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood is to exterminate and destroy Western civilization and to sabotage it from within,” Fischer said.
Schlueter adds that promoting CAIR is a major mistake for pastors.
“When you are promoting CAIR, that has a proven track record of defending evil, you are serving as a tool of the enemies of Christ, the enemies of Israel and the enemies of freedom,” Schlueter asserted.
Schlueter says that pastors have an even greater responsibility to know about CAIR’s activities and track record.
“If Pastor Ly is unaware of what CAIR is all about, I would say that he’s without excuse. Anyone that could wade into the issues involving CAIR and invite them in and plan dinners with them and promote them and use your church as a promotional tool for this organization: if you’re engaged in any of this, it is unbelievably irresponsible,” Schlueter stated.
“If you love freedom and our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights, for him to promote CAIR like without knowing about them would be highly irresponsible,” Schlueter added.
In his comments for the May 4 story, Ly said he believes the April interfaith dialogue session was successful.
“There were a lot of new friendships made between Muslims and Christians who were at the event. We’re going to continue to have ongoing dialogues with the MAPS Muslim community as well as ongoing dialogues about Jesus and other parts of our respective faiths with other Muslim communities through the Seattle area,” Ly said.
Fischer believes that no matter what claims are made about the dialogue sessions, whether they’re in a seminar or at a dinner, the sessions are usually successful for only one side.
“When Christians sit down with Muslims to have an interfaith dialogue, typically what happens is that Christians stand up and say wonderful things about Islam. Then Muslims stand up and say wonderful things about Islam so there’s really no interfaith dialogue taking place,” Fischer observed.
“Christians are the ones who are making all of the concessions. Muslims in these interfaith dialogues give absolutely no ground,” Fischer added.
Schlueter notes that the Muslims believed the spring meeting was a success.
“They were praising Allah for such a wonderful meeting. When someone leaves your church praising Allah for what has been going on at a Christian church, then something is wrong,” Schlueter stated.
Schlueter believes that the mere concept of interfaith dialogue cancels any defense of Christianity.
“Here’s the problem with the strategy of using religious understanding as the basis for some well-intentioned evangelism effort where you’re going to celebrate the end of Ramadan as Pastor Ly did recently. At what point do you explain your purposes?” Schlueter asked.
“You are being dishonest. If your goal is to win them for Jesus Christ and you’re going in there and saying, ‘We’re not trying to change you,’ that’s dishonest,” Schlueter explained.
“That is not the way to win the respect of people in other religions, by covering up your real agenda. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ and you love the souls of Muslims, you’re going to lovingly share the Gospel,” she continued.
“By continuing to emphasize friendship at the expense of truth, you’re ultimately undermining your own position,” Schlueter added.
Fischer said because of the limited probability of success of any interfaith dialogue, the dialogue should be limited.
“The only dialogue we should have with the Muslims is this: We will let you build a mosque in our cities when you allow a church to be built in Mecca. If you won’t allow that, then we have nothing else to say,” Fischer concluded.
Ly did not reply to repeated requests for comment.