The depth of ‘Arab Spring’ response explored during G8

By June 1, 2011

Middle East (MNN) — As world
leaders met in France for the G8 Summit last week, the uprisings in the Middle
East dominated discussions.

The International Monetary Fund promised help for the Middle East and North
Africa regions over the next two years, even before reforms are in place. It's part of their pledge to help with the
transition to democratic governments in the wake of a turbulent Arab Spring.

In the meantime, members of
the G8–Britain, Canada, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States–have been trying to
connect the dots between economic
impact, political unrest and what kind of role information technology

Even as the governments discussed
transitions and response, a radio ministry has been implementing their plan with
pleasing success. Lee
DeYoung with Words of Hope says two-thirds of the Arabic-speaking people are under age 36. The younger people have been raised exposed
to much more in terms of ideology and philosophy.

In order to reach the younger
demographic, DeYoung says their team adapted their programs but found themselves streamlining even more when
the turmoil began in Tunisia at the beginning of the year. "Our
broadcasts are heard 30-minutes every night, all throughout the Middle East and all
of the countries of the Arab League. The impact of the turmoil and the
resulting change has entailed many unintended consequences and difficulties for
people in the region."

A typical program will feature
several segments. First, "Sayings
of Christ," which focuses on provocative sayings like "love your enemies." The saying is then explored thematically throughout
the program without attributing its source. At the end, the saying is repeated and attributed directly to Jesus.  

"Arab Calls of the Heart" is
another segment that offers critique of
religion in the region. Specifically, it highlights
traditional Arab culture which is different from current-day Islam. The program appeals to traditional Arab
values, which DeYoung says are more closely aligned with biblical principles. This approach takes the "foreign influence"
aspect out of the mix and opens the door further for truth claims.  

The third segment is "Thought for the Day," which emphasizes the teachings of Jesus and what they mean in
current-day society.

Is it risky? DeYoung notes, "Some Islamic groups have escalated anti-Christian
rhetoric and launched deadly attacks against churches." Then,
he demurs, adding, "All of this rising
uncertainty also presents opportunities for Gospel outreach amidst change; people
are often more open to fresh perspectives including spiritual alternatives."

It's the perfect time to inject
the hope of Christ. Their
approach piques "interest in the person of Jesus Christ, not in any
form which points to religious practice and ritual, but rather a living
relationship with a Savior."

Keep praying for wisdom for the team
as they continue their response to the heat of the Arab Spring. "The change that was sought is not leading
necessarily in positive directions. As people reflect on how this happening
and why it's happening, they may be drawn to the profound wisdom and appeal of
Jesus Christ Himself."  

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