Random thoughts and links on living with Muslims

– When we lived in Portland, OR, we had Muslim students live with us. Ahmed from Yemen stayed for two years and his brother Ali stayed one year. We watched the Gulf War on CNN from the same couch but were cheering for different sides – that didn’t matter. We loved those guys and they became part of our family.

– My friend Geoff Tunnicliffe called Terry Jones on the phone, the pastor who was threatening to burn a Koran, and arranged a one-hour conference call with Christian leaders who talked some sense to him and help divert what could have been a very very bad decision.

– When we moved to East London, my young daughters were appalled and offended by the loose morality and foul language from many of their classmates. Se advised them to hang out with the Muslim girls.

– When our Muslim neighbors started attending our pizza nights, we bought Halal meat so everyone could eat the pizza.

– 25 bloggers joined us for Blog a Koran Day.

– In the USA we had Muslim students live with us from Pakistan and other countries also and when Ramadan came around we had to wait until sunset before we could feed everyone. One of them asked us to buy a prayer mat for his room. They got really homesick during Ramadan.

– Jim Wallis tells part of the story behind Terry Jones’s change of heart.

– I suspect that Christians published more content on the Koran this month (September 2010) that any time in history. Someone should probably calculate it but the total amount of published content from Christians might be even more that what has been published previously throughout the history of the written word.

– Sometimes I check out the site Looking for God to watch the real time decisions on Google maps [cheap entertainment] and it always amazes me how many people are deciding to follow Jesus from Muslim countries.

– Once Mohammed invited me to eat with him and his friends. His brother told me that if I accepted, I would be like his brother. I accepted, and Mohammed created a big feast on the floor. He gave me food to eat from his hand. It was intimate in a non-gay way and we became very good friends – like brothers in fact. I understood why the Pharisees were so upset at Jesus eating with people – its a very intimate bonding ritual in Eastern cultures.

– Earlier this year I went to Morocco and in Fez I visited the shrine of a famous Sufi poet, Sidi Ali ibn Harzihm. I find the mystical poetry of Sufism to have some very interesting parallels with Christian mystic writings. Thomas Merton discovered the same thing. I wonder if there are ways for both Christians and Muslims to have conversations about God by starting with Sufi poets like Rumi, rather than or in addition to the Koran.

Like this one.

Jesus sat humbly on the back of an ass, my child!
How could a zephyr ride an ass?
Spirit, find your way, in seeking lowness like a stream.
Reason, tread the path of selflessness into eternity.

Remember God so much that you are
Let the caller and the called disappear;
be lost in the Call.

“Love is a Stranger”, Kabir Helminski, Threshold Books, 1993


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Ed Cyzewski says:

    I was blessed to eat a Ramadan meal with a Palestinian family once and you’re absolutely right to say it’s an intimate, life-changing experience. That experience helped me understand Muslims more than anything I have read and helped me put 9/11 in what I think is a more realistic context–an act by radicals on the fringe.

  • This echoes my experience visiting Jordan during Ramadan we must connect heart to heart and then we won’t hate … I suspect Roger Williams would concur based on his work wit the Native Americans.

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