USA (MNN) — U.S. President Barack Obama is “making the rounds” this week, trying to calm nerves and reassure the American public following an attack in southern California earlier this month. Along with touting gains made against ISIS, he’s warning against “Islamophobia.”
Emily Fuentes of Open Doors USA agrees. Anti-Muslim speech coming from Western nations, like the U.S., she says, is a risk to Christians around the world.
“The West is associated with Christianity, so anything Western is labeled ‘Christian,'” she explains, pointing to the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram as an example.
A literal translation of Boko Haram means, “Western education is sin.” Fuentes says, “They target Christian churches, or schools…because they associate it with the West.”
Islamophobia is reportedly running at an “all-time high” in the U.S. A quick search for #Islamophobia on Twitter reveals stories like this one–a compilation of attacks against U.S. Muslims following remarks made by Donald Trump, a 2016 presidential candidate.
“Whenever groups like [Boko Haram] or the Islamic State are witnessing how Western governments or Western peoples are treating others, they automatically assume Christians are wrapped up in this, and Christians begin to face more persecution,” Fuentes notes.
The U.S. isn’t the only nation battling Islamophobia. Following last month’s attacks in Paris, hate crimes against Muslims tripled in London, according to RT. In Canada, a man from Quebec vowed to kill one Muslim a week.
ISIS has already labeled the West as “anti-Islamic,” Fuentes observes. “Whenever there’s Islamophobia, it’s kind of proving their point and adding to their message, which is really unfortunate.”
As you pray for Christians persecuted by radical Muslim groups like Boko Haram and ISIS, put the Gospel message into action. Love your Muslim neighbors, and tell them they’re included in Christ’s plan for salvation.
Though God has called followers from every tribe and tongue, “The one thing that unites us is Christ’s love.
“If we can share that with our [Muslim] neighbor…we’re going to deepen things not only in our community, but that’s going to have a ripple effect and impact the moderate Muslims of nations where [Christians are] persecuted,” says Fuentes.
She shares the story of two Open Doors-supported pastors in Syria as an example. They had been distributing food and clothing in a war-torn community when “one day, they noticed an Islamic extremist man come up, shouting fanatical statements.”
After seeking the Lord’s guidance, “They allowed him into the church to have a meal and clothing, but kept an eye on him, just to make sure he wouldn’t do anything.
“At the end [of the distribution] when they gave the Gospel message, this man accepted [Christ] and is now a Christian today.”
When we put aside Islamophobia and reach out to our Muslim neighbors, Fuentes says, “God can do a mighty, mighty thing.”