Here is my partial translation of the AL-Jazeerah intervew between Maher Abdallah and Shiekh Ahmed Katani talking about the issue of 6 million muslims leaving Islam every year in Africa alone. This was an television interview that was transcribed and I translated it into English.
Here is the original article I translated from Arabic from Al-Jezeerah's web site.http://www.aljazeera.net/programs/shareea/articles/2000/12/12-12-6.htm
Maher AbdallahMaher Abdallah:
Dear viewers, peace of Allah be upon you, greetings and welcome to a new episode of the program Islamic Law and Life.
Our topic this evening will be Christianization in the Dark Continent ... Africa. For after Islam was the religion of the majority, the great majority of that continent, the number of Muslims now is no greater than a third of the population. This is taking into consideration, of course, that a large portion of this group are Arab Muslims. No doubt that the missions of evangelization and Christianization played a great role in this demographic shift of Muslims in the continent.
To discuss this topic, it is my pleasure to introduce today a man who is an expert on the issue of evangelization and Christianization in Africa, even though he will concentrate on the issue of Christianization first and foremostGÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª. Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.
Sheikh Ahmad, welcome to you on the program.Ahmad Al Katani:
Greeting to you.Maher Abdallah:
If we start by inquiring about your strict stance against the Christian missions in Africa, don’t the followers of every religion have the right to seek new converts, exactly as you train and graduate young Muslims to propagate Islam?
Ahmad Al Katani:
I seek refuge in Allah the Seer, the Knower, from the stoned devil. In the name of Allah the Merciful the Beneficent. Thanks to Allah the One, the Only, the Permanent One, who did not give birth nor was born, to whom no one was equal. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah who has no partners, and I bear witness that our master Muhammed - Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him - is his messenger and seal of prophets; Allah prayers be upon him and his brothers the prophets and messengers and their families.
The question that you pose is a result of not comprehending the difference between the concept of Christianization and the concept of evangelism.
The concept of evangelism: is inviting the non-Christians to the Christian or Nazarene religion, and this is the right of every Christian and the right of every believer to call others to his faith. However, we are talking about a different matter; which is Christianization. Christianization means the following: preparing plans, and executing these plans and evolving these plans to change Muslims into Christians by taking advantage of the ignorance and poverty (of the people) and whatever necessitates from similar circumstances.
So, we are faced with the issue of taking advantage of circumstances, taking advantage of humanitarian needs, taking advantage of the lack of education for example, that these people (missionaries) use to take Muslims out of their religion. Maher Abdallah:
Fine. This is a big and dangerous phrase. Taking advantage of poverty, of ignorance, of lack of education, of some need is something that a Muslim can also be accused of. So if you don’t back up what you say with examples, with references, your words remain in the air without much weight to them.
Ahmad Al Katani:
The reality is that these words say a lot less than they should. As we said in the beginning, everyone has the right to invite others to his religion; this is what is known as evangelism (or proselytizing). As for Christianization, no one has the right to take Muslims out of their religion, and you asked for references and the references are too numerous.
Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.
As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª.. Maher Abdallah
Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have 6 million converting from Islam to Christianity or converting from Islam and other religions? Ahmad Al Katani:
Great (question)! The other religions are not placed on the list of Christianization; rather they are placed on the list of evangelization. The other religion in Africa is paganism; so it’s Islam, Christianity or paganism. There isn’t something similar to Asia for example where you have Buddhism or Zoroastrianism. In Africa it is just these three, so if you talk about Christianization then it targets the only other heavenly religion which is Islam. As for paganism, those people worship animals and planets and the like. Maher Abdallah:
So 6 million Muslims a year convert?Ahmad Al Katani:
Every year GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª.. In the African nations this century a tragedy happened. Take for example what happened in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is an Arab nation and I am not saying a muslim nation. If any student looks up the word Habasha (Ethiopia) in the book Ocean Dictionary written by Al-Fairuz Abady, he will find that the word Habashat means “people of different tribes” and this is what happened. Ethiopia was a place where Arabs from different tribes would go to live for a while. We all know that Islam entered Ethiopia before Islam entered the city of Medina. We all know that AL-Najashy (the ruler of Ethiopia) was a Muslim. It is mentioned by Al-Darkatny in his biography of the prophet - Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him - that during the month of Rajab in the 9th year of the Hijra (Muslim calendar) that the prophet said to his companions: “Rise up and pray on your brother Al-Najashy.” From that year on the practice of praying on the absent was established. Therefore from the time of the prophet - Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him - Islam entered Ethiopia. So what has happened to Ethiopia?
What happened is that in the days of Emperor Hela Silasi who used to force Muslims to bow to the Christian, and if he refused then he was whipped 45 lashes and jailed between 2 and 5 years. In the year 1948, a massacre occurred at the hands of the Amharic tribes; the Amharic being Christians and collaborators, who continued to slaughter Muslims for 7 months and perform the most horrific acts imaginable. For example they deprived them from the most basic human rights, to the point that they mutilated the male Muslim’s reproductive organs so that no more Muslim children would be born. Ethiopia was rewarded after all these horrific acts; rewarded by being made the head quarters of the African Unity League.
Let us move to another location in Africa, let it be Nigeria. Nigeria is known by Muslims by the name of the Land of Takror. Nigeria was founded at the beginning of the last century by the British, and many Islamic sources mention it’s name as the Land of Tekror. There is even a letter by the reciter Suyuti, who died in the year 911 Hijri, where the title is: Opening the blessed request and relating the hidden openly to the questions of the people of Takror. So there was an established relationship, and they used to send questions to the scholars of Islam, so this letter (of questions) was sent from one of the sheikh scholars of Nigeria that was called Takror to the Muslim scholar AL Suyuti in Egypt and he in turn responded and the contents of this letter are published and printed and is found in the book “The collection Islamic decrees”.
Nigeria’s population is 120 million people, 70% of whom are Muslim. In the 1960’s a British missionary came and declared that he will Christianize North Nigeria, the majority of whom are Muslim. As a result, Ahmad Banulo (from the leaders of the Msulims) was forced at the time to move him to Lagos the capital. As a result the butcher Arorese, that was present at the time, eliminated all the Muslim rulers and killed Ahmad Banulo, why? Because he merely dared to move this missionary who declared that he wishes to Christianize North Nigeria.
In another country, Zanzibar, is an Arabic African nation and I am not saying Muslim. Zanzibar was always connected to the Sultanate of Oman (in the Persian Gulf). Concerning Zanzibar, there was a priest by the name Julius Niriry, president of Tanzania, who annihilated 20,000 Muslims (male and female) with a military force lead by a chicken thief. This thief was imprisoned for being accused of stealing chickens; he was released and asked to command the military brigade that annihilated 20,000 Muslims.Maher Abdallah:
My dear viewers welcome back to this episode where we are speaking about the topic of Christianization in the African continent and we are speaking with the Sheikh who is observing and following this issue, as each hour Islam loses just under 700 Muslims who join the Christian religion which leads us to the number of 6 million Muslims every year.
Our sir, you mentioned that there are advantages being taken of necessities: poverty, ignorance; what you mentioned then are waves of elimination, waves of religious eradication, and there is no need to call is racial eradicationGÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª.. However, let us go back to the topic necessity and exploitation. This may have all been in the past; the military expeditions that you spoke of were all in the beginning or middle of the last century, but what is happening today in regards to exploiting necessities?Ahmad Al Katani:
What I wanted to say is that these military expeditions and wars paved the way for what we are seeing today; converting 6 million Muslims every year did not happen from nothing, but was a result of what I mentioned earlier.
As for the topic of necessity exploitation, then a nation like Somalia, whose population is 9.5 million people, are all Muslim without exception. There are no Christians or pagans. And if you did find any then they are an insignificant number that are not even on official statistics. A Belgian missionary by the name of Sabeh came to Somalia and purchased 30,000 Muslim youth, he took advantage of their parents poverty, and we all know the terrible situation that Somalia is going through now and what it went through a few years ago. This is taking advantage of a humanitarian need that any human can go through.Maher Abdallah:
Excuse me, what do you mean purchased?Ahmad Al Katani:
You know that the current laws forbid trading in slaves, but I can’t find another expression to use. The man asked (from the country of Belgium) approximately forty million dollars or slightly less and it (Belgium) hurried in sending the money to him out of fear that this opportunity will be lost. Belgium sent the money in a very short time, and he (the missionary) paid this money to the parents of the youth and I can only call it buying and selling, there is no other name for it. The result was that 30,000 children were made Christian and baptized in the churches. I say this with all regret, but these children are now adults. This event occurred a number of years ago and these youth are now adults and what is more dangerous is that these people will return to their families; some of them have already returned indeed and others will return. This tragedy happened in Somalia, people’s poverty was taken advantage of and this humiliation happened in front of the eyes of on lookers.Maher Abdallah:
Fine! Another picture of taking advantage, this was in consideration of Somalia’s state during war; in the case of a tragedy such as poverty where people were forced to do so due to the circumstances in the area. But what about other regions, how are they doing?Ahmad Al Katani:
Yes. In Zaire there are now half a million muslim refugees, only Muslims are subjugated to severe missions of Christianization. I am sorry to say something and I am not the first to make this point; it has been said before: the bounty of humanitarian aid that is delivered goes to the Christians, and now because of this opportunity the muslims are Christianized in Zaire. There are half a million Muslims targeted for christianiztion on a daily basis. There is a horrific absence of muslim effort in the field. There is no Arabic or muslim (missionary) presence in Africa, except on a token level, nothing productive.Maher Abdallah:
These words are contradictory to what we hear in summits that are held, without mentioning the names of organizations that hold these summits at times specifically to discuss the situation of muslim in Africa, south of the desert.Ahmad Al Katani:
My dear sir, among the plans to Christianize is to leak periodic numbers weekly, monthly and yearly and these statistics works as sedatives in the body of the community. Every now and then we hear in the media, whether television, radio or print that an African family has converted to islam, or members of a family have become Muslim or that a university professor has converted to Islam. These are all tranquilizer shots. For every muslim that converts to Islam, there are thousands that become Christian. We have previously mentioned the number of people that become Christian every year, every day and every hour, all these numbers make people think that matters are fine, that Islam is well, and the truth is the exact opposite.
If you permit, I do know a group of organizations, whose names I don’t want to mention, which reside in Africa and have headquarters in Tanzania. Ahmad Al Katani:
Are they Islamic?Maher Abdallah:
Yes Islamic.Ahmad Al Katani:
All the Arabian organizations specifically work under the humanitarian cloak and not under the missionary envelope and it is very important to notice this difference. There are indeed active groups, such as The Islamic Invitation Organization in Libya as well as the organization headed by sheikh Abdel Rahim in Kuwait.Maher Abdallah:
Abdel Rahman AL Baseet?Ahmad Al Katani:
Abdel Rahman AL Baseet, there are many organizations that are active, there are active institutions, most of whom work under the humanitarian blanket and this humanitarian blanket my dear sir, is a saving scheme for the rich to help those wounded and afflicted with poverty. However, we should be talking about the missionary efforts. Maher Abdallah:
No! Allow me please. I agree with the difference you pointed to, however if there are some taking advantage of people’s hunger and poverty then these organizations fulfill these needs. In an indirect way they become missionary efforts also by preventing people from converting to Christianity.Ahmad Al Katani:
Look sir. Unfortunately, our organizations work in a disorganized method. Have you heard, and I know you have an extensive history in the Islamic field by meeting with scholars, have you heard of a Christian religion that follows Germany or Holland? All have left the work for the Vatican, who has been given the leadership to Christianize. We have a number of Arab countries, each trying to call others to it’s religion and what is happening is that these organizations work independently so if any have done well, it is because of individual effort.
My dear sir, in one year, these Christian missionary organizations collected 194 billion dollars. The national budget of all Arab countries combined don’t equal that number. So what is a single Muslim organization in Libya or Egypt or in Kuwait to do? This type of matter should be planned and done collectively. Take another issue, the Christians and the missionaries in particular take a child from his infancy to a school, and from the school to an academy or from an academy to college. If the child ever gets ill, then there is a hospital that they have prepared for him where Jesus will heal him. They deal with him from childhood to adulthood so he never leaves Christianity. As for us, all that happens is that a Muslim humanitarian organization provides some aid for a while as a result of some catastrophe, and I know tens of people like this who convert to Islam a result of the aid, but when the need is gone they revert back to Christianity or to paganism; meaning we are not organized.Maher Abdallah:
Let me ask you in this regard. I appreciate that the organizations of the civil societies in our part of the world are rather recent, and perhaps they haven’t matured to the point of becoming streamlined, but what about the Arab nations? Some Arab nations boast about the amount of money they spend in the cause of spreading Islam, especially in Africa. Is there a unified official Arab effort? Official meaning on a governmental level?Ahmad Al Katani:
There is, but my dear sir, the issue of Christianization is too large and massive for all Arab societies combined to overcome, let alone a single Arab nation. And even if this Arab spent money for the effort, what will it spend? Add to this the lack of sound planning. So for example, money from donations and religious contributions are gathered and taken to Africa, which does happen, to build a mosque.
My honored sir, you have to build the worshipper before you build the mosque. What should happen is that schools should be built first, which are the primary source of spreading Islam and to protect the Muslim using education not a mosque building. The mosque will come as a secondary stage. This is one of the mistakes that we commit; we are proud of building a mosque for example in Dar Al Salam, but believe me my dear sir, had we used that money to build a school it would have been a lot more beneficial. Build the worshipper before you build the mosque and the prophet - Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him - spent ten years of his ministry without building a mosque, but instead he was preparing men. After the prophet entered the second stage of his ministry he built a mosque.
I will give you an example and proof that would make the Muslim missionary dangle his head with shame. Kenya’s population, for example, is thirty million people, a quarter of whom are Muslim. In all of Kenya, there are 900 mosques compared to 25 thousand churches. Do you see this great difference? Also, half of these mosques, and I am only calling them mosques out of pity, are unusable. They have roofs made out of reeds and the like, whereas you look at the churches and you find great amounts of money spent on them. In these churches they raise orphans while we Muslims are not complaining about the care of orphans because the topic we are discussing is taking advantage of the humanitarian needs to take Muslims out of their religion and into Christianity.Maher Abdallah:
We return to the 6 million Muslims who leave our territory and enter the territory of another religion. From my contacts with the western world, where the Muslim community is not subjected to the same degree of Christian missionary efforts, there seems to be a mindset that dominates the official Muslim organizations and the Muslim missionaries and even the wealthy Muslims that all are seeking to build mosques, but very few feel the importance of other efforts such as opening schools and dedicating missionaries GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ÂªAhmad Al Katani:
When it come to the wealthy Arabs and Muslims we are in great shape. We are talking about individual Arabs and I am not talking about entire Arab nations, the wealth of the individual Arabs can be estimated at around 600 billion dollars. So if we assume that these people pay the religious contribution known as Zakat (2.5% of income) that gives us 15 billion dollars annually. I am sure that if this religious contribution was gathered and given to the Muslim missionary groups that know how to work well, then we will not leave a place in Africa for Christians to have any missionary activity. The problem with the wealthy Arab is that he doesn’t direct his effort to the Islamic cause at all, while in Europe all the income that the churches receive is from individual contributions. When it comes to having wealthy Arabs, we are doing fine. However, it seems that these wealthy Arabs don’t care about these issues at all; knowing that a quarter of the religious contributions should go to those whose hearts can be swayed. This was done during the days of the prophets - Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him. However, the rightly guided caliph Omar stopped this practice. When Islam gained a lot of adherents, the caliph Omar stopped spending money on those whose hearts can be swayed. Now in Africa there are rulers of tribes, kings of tribes who have a lot of influence on their followers, so what is stopping us these days from using some of the religious contribution to spend on these types of people over there?
When it comes to the wealthy Arab, he either doesn’t care about these issues at all, or he is concerned about other issues. Are you aware, my dear sir, that a wealthy Arab built a palace in London worth seven million dollars? If this man had given us just one million dollars we would have spent it in the correct manner. Maher Abdallah:
Allow us to focus our discussion on the wealthy Arab who is interested in propagating the Islamic message. There are wealthy Arabs who are occupied with other matters as well; that is their prerogative and a different matter. However, from talking to some Muslim missionaries in Europe and Africa, I get the impression that the would be easy for someone like that to deal with you when it comes to building a mosque. You may have trouble in convincing him to GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª.Ahmad Al Katani:
This happens often! The wealthy Arab builds a mosque for himself or one of his parents of his friend, but my dear sir, building a mosque comes as a second stage. In America, the price of building an Islamic school is 5 million dollars. In Africa, 50 thousand dollars are enough to build a very reasonably sized school. I say this and I take full responsibility for it; building a school comes before building a mosque. Build the worshiper before you build the mosque. Take for example yourself; you go to the mosque five times a day and if you added all that time it would equal an hour or maybe two hours if you include the Friday prayer. However, if I ask you how long you stayed at school, you will reply that you spent years in middle school and years in high school. Likewise the African goes to the mosque, but if we built him a school where he could spend most of his time, and provided specialized educators we could at least stop this dangerous Christian missionary octopus. Maher Abdallah:
Our Sir, we lose 6 million a year and yet we have another problem. We will return to mechanisms of stopping this hemorrhage, but there is a mind set that controls many who are concerned about the issue of Islam in Africa; that is they try to transfer to Africa the problems of the Arab world, the Islamic concerns in the Arab world which are minor issues. They concentrate on small details like what to look for in certain religious innovations (heresies). For example, you can find a family where three quarters of the members have converted to Christianity, but the concerned Arab muslim will go to the only family member who remained muslim and judge him on some minor Islamic infraction. To what degree is there exaggeration in the previous statement?Ahmad Al Katani:
There was an order given by the honorable Caliph Omar son of Khatab - may Allah be please with him - this order was mentioned by Al-Tabari in his book “History of the Nations and Kings”. This book is actually known by another name which is “History of the Nations and Prophets”. Ibn Kathir also mentioned this order in his book “The Complete” where Omar son of Khatab said:
“I order the Caliph after me to treat the Arabs well, for they are the substance of Islam”
What does this saying mean? It means that the Arabs are the ones who initiate the ideas to the muslim community. If you study the different Islamic sects such as the Mutazalites, the Majerites, the Jaberites, the Materdites or the Shiites, all these sects were initially established by the Arabs and the other muslim communities took these sects from them. This is a very insightful point that the Caliph was aware of that’s why he said that “The Arabs are the substance of Islam.”
What is happening these days is that there are many sects on the playing field now, many groups who disagree between each other and you know this well. I don’t want to delve into this topic because it has become boring and tiresome. In Ghana for example, you know that the African is unable to grow a beard, hair growth on the African face is very light.Maher Abdallah:
As well as the Asian face.Ahmad Al Katani:
Yes as well as the Asian. A beard on an African face is very rare, and if you do find an African able to grow a beard, it would not be dense. Are you aware that there was a battle in Ghana between two mosques over the issue of the beard? (People asking one another) Did he recently start growing a beard or has he shaved it? My dear sir, 90 percent of the people fighting that day were unable to grow a beard. All this is because of us. We transfer our differences to them, from our Arab field to the greater muslim field.Maher Abdallah:
If I asked you a question: you are the president of an institution that graduates muslim missionaries and some of them might concentrate on Africa.Ahmad Al Katani:
If Allah wills it.Maher Abdallah:
You are more aware than I am that the imam who works in Tripoli or Benghazi, located in a muslim Arab country with ties to its Islam, has different needs than an imam working in Africa. For the African person, bread is more important than prayer as well as finding clothing to cover himself. Does your institution or do other groups take this into account when you prepare muslim missionaries to go out and spread Islam in Africa?Ahmad Al Katani:
The truth is, the institution that I administer is considered pre-college. As for the subject of attracting and preparing specialized missionaries to bring them from their countries to Libya in order to train them and return them back to their countries, that is done through the Islamic Propagation Organization. This organization has graduated a number of classes, some of whose students had masters and doctorate degrees. These efforts were fruitful in that these graduates were able to attract people from their lands and countries because they spoke the language and understood the customs of the people they were proselytizing. This way, the missionary is not a foreigner to the community he is working with, contrast that to what would happen if I went to the Philippines for example. I can’t speak a single Philippino word; much less invite people to the faith.Maher Abdallah:
Even the Philippines? Allow me to share with you a story that a muslim Indian missionary, who was fluent in Arabic, told me. He said that during his 9 year stay in Africa in a region I can’t recall, perhaps it was the Ivory Coast, the issue of temporary marriages was problematic because the Africans don’t understand it the same way we do. A woman who fell in love with a man would go live with him without initiating a lawful contract. As a matter of fact, in Ramadan, which is Holy to Allah, the women would go live in the house with the man’s family. When some of the inhabitants of that area returned home after studying in different Arab countries, the first thing they did was wage war on these families using the excuse that these types of relationships (weddings) are not lawful and all children born in such relationships are illegitimate.
The issue of inheritance is also a problem. It is true that some of these missionaries were from that land and learnt islam correctly as it ought to be practiced, but they lost touch as to how Islam is practiced in their land and as a result failed in making a difference. This Indian missionary told me that a group of missionaries went to the Religious Decree Organization in Saudi Arabia and explained the problem to the late Sheikh Ibn Baz. He in turn, decreed that may Allah forgive what has occurred in the past and these relationships should be considered lawful temporary marriages, for this is what the people of that land understand by the term. The woman who entered into such a relationship is limited to that man and as a result this would make their union legal. So you see that even though these missionaries were from that same land they had lost the sensitivity of realizing that this is a real problem in their land.Ahmad Al Katani:
My dear sir, the majority of the companions of the prophet were married prior to Islam and then they converted. We never heard at all, nor read anywhere or learned at all that the prophet - may Allah be please with him - ordered any of the companions to re-perform their marriage ceremony. He accepted them all, knowing full well that their marriages were conducted according to the rituals of the days if ignorance and some of them had up to 10 wives, some of them would marry two sisters. The prophet did not allow more than 4 wives and asked any man married to two sisters to choose between one of them but he kept the marriage as is. As for marriages after the advent of Islam, that is another matter. There are rules and dowries and a guardian, but before Islam the prophet kept things as they were.
Likewise these people that you mentioned my dear sir, we seem to live with a dual mentality. We think that a muslim in Botswana or Congo or the Philippines or Venezuela is the same as a muslim living in Tripoli ... and that’s a mistake. There are sensitivities that must be accommodated. I live near a mosque, my father and grandfather are both muslims, but these people live in a different situation and we must understand their circumstances and take that into consideration.Maher Abdallah:
Allow me to go to some of our viewers who have some questions about this topic. We have brother Abdel Hamid Haj Khudur from Germany. Brother Abdel hamid go ahead:Abdel Hamid Haj Khudur:
In the name of Allah most gracious most merciful. Greetings to you Sheikh Ahmed and to you dear brother Maher.Maher Abdallah:
May Allah protect you, go ahead.Abdel Hamid Haj Khudur:
Allah protect you. My dear brother, I am a person who has followed this African issue from the country that I reside in (Germany) and I have attended many conferences that deal with the issue of Africa, I realized something that you mentioned once before which is that the west wants Africa without the Africans. Truly, for 20 years the west has been implementing its vicious policies towards Africa, policies that are oppressive and far reaching; stealing the wealth of Africa and throwing millions of people in the furnace of poverty.
The west prepares missionaries and evangelists and sends them to Africa to transfer the western lifestyle to Africa. The western lifestyle, my dear sir, means infusing immorality among the people spreading many diseases that Africa currently ails from. This has become the greatest concern for Europeans and westerners right now, to the point that they say it in English “Africa is out”, meaning there is no more use for Africa.
So what we need to present to the Africans as true muslims is Islamic law. The Africans are really in need of Islamic law that will save them from the western lifestyle that the westerners have implanted in Africa. However, he who doesn’t own something cannot give it away. We in our own Arab Islamic countries don’t implement Islamic law (Sharia), so how can we say to the Africans, “Here! These Arab Islamic countries have Islamic law that is a rescue for the drowning; a real Islamic way of life.”
This is what I insist on, that before the Muslim Arab countries attempt to proselytize the west, they must first respect their own Islamic law. Thank you and may Allah reward you.Maher Abdallah:
Thank you brother Abdel Hamid. We have brother Abdel Rahaman Al Sheghri from the Emirates. Brother Abdel Rahaman go ahead.Abdel Rahaman Al Sheghri:
Peace be upon you.Maher Abdallah:
And upon you.Abdel Rahaman Al Sheghri:
Brother Maher, it appears that the missionaries have not limited their work to the poor African countries that are in need of aid but spread to all Islamic countries especially the rich ones. This morning we received in the mail an evangelistic letter written in Arabic addressed to one of the government schools in the Emirates, specifically El Sharika. I believe that this letter came from Germany and it requested that we watch one of the satellite channels that was airing a film about the life of Christ in Arabic. It also invited us to write to them and to view some evangelistic internet sites, as well as to listen to Arabic missionary radio stations and to correspond with them either through the internet, fax or mail so that we may receive a copy of the Gospel or audio tapes or books that are all free.
I say all this to show the missionary waves that are directed at all the countries of the Islamic world in all languages. So what have we offered in response to this information. I take this opportunity brother Maher to invite all benevolent organizations to work with the goal of spreading Islam. This does not mean establishing a few embarrassing websites on the internet, but to print pamphlets in all languages, for examples, and send them to all organizations and teaching institutions around the world and prepare muslim missionaries who are prepared to spread the message of Islam around the world.
Finally brother Maher, I heard at one point that you intended to re-broadcast the program "Islamic Law and Life" that was to be translated and until now we haven’t noticed that this project has seen the light of day. I insist that it is an obligation for all satellite channels to air Islamic programs in foreign languages so that Islam can reach every spot on earth. Thank you and Allah reward you.Maher Abdallah:
Thank you brother Abdel Rahman. We have brother Mahmoud Hussain from Iraq. Brother Mahmoud go ahead. Mahmoud Hussain:
Peace upon you.Maher Abdallah:
And upon you.Mahmoud Hussain:
My brother I want to ask the Sheikh, we have muslim girls here in Sweden who work in agencies and these agencies insist that the veil not be worn in their offices. So in this case, does the woman stop working or is it allowed from a legal Islamic point of view?Maher Abdallah:
My brother Mahmoud, we are forced to leave this question because it is away from the topic we are discussing.
If the Sheikh has an abridged answer about unveiled women working we will start with that.Ahmad Al Katani:
There is a religious decree issued from muslim regions that allows a woman living in non -Islamic countries to go to work unveiled so that her sustenance is not cut off and she doesn’t become in need. This is the lesser of two evils.Maher Abdallah:
Alright. We request that all future questions address the heart of the topic which, as you know, is a horrible hemorrhage that the muslim community is suffering from. We realize that this episode and other episodes won’t do the topic justice, so we urge you to concentrate on the topic.
Sheikh Ahmad, your comments of the brother’s question.Ahmad Al Katani:
Abdel Rahman from the Emirates. My dear brother you mentioned that you receive these printed material in El Sharika. I know this very well and frankly the issue of evangelization requires a long time and I suggested to Mr. Abu Usamah that our topic today be about Christianization in Africa. As for Christianization of Arab countries, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia then this will require other episodes. We honestly won’t be able to give all the topics their due time, but consider the following.
You perhaps don’t know that the World Council of Churches declared in a meeting it held in California in 1980 that there were 50,000 Christianized people in Saudi Arabia. Also, there is an organization called (Upper Egypt) GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ÂªMaher Abdallah:
Ahmad Al Katani:
Yes Upper Egypt. This organization has 60 branches to evangelize Egypt. Also, in a country like Mauritania, which is a muslim Arab state whose population of 2.5 million people are all muslim, has a organizations like the American (Delolise) Society, the Global Royal organization, the Carrots organization, the Mauritanian Hope Association, the Population Growth organization, the Evangelical Arab Union, all these are missionary groups in Mauritania. There is no Arab country that is excluded from the list of evangelization. My dear brother, in Malaysia there are 500 evangelizing organizations but I don’t want to leave the topic of Africa so please forgive me brother Abdel Rahamn.Maher Abdallah:
We return to the first question from Abdel Hamid from Germany. Your response to his comment that the west wants Africa without the Africans, which is another issue. Apparently, it is no longer just Christianizing the muslims, rather it is emptying the continent out of Africans.Ahmad Al Katani:
Yes sir. He mentioned two important points; depleting the continent of Africans and it is known that Portugal was the first western nation to enter into Africa in the year 1442 A.D. and took ten black Africans to Europe. This was the birth date of the African slave trade. From that time and until today, one third of the Africans live outside Africa, meaning that if we assume that an African family has nine members then three of them now live outside Africa. Truly, Europe wants Africa without the Africans since they pose a heavy burden. As a matter of fact, there is a professor by the name of Paul Arlitch from the University of Stanford who suggested a while ago that the grain exported to African nations should be mixed with birth control pills in order to empty Africa out of it’s inhabitants. Maher Abdallah:
(Laughing) He has asked another question. He mentioned another point that the evangelist comes to Africa aided with a successful European image, so it is as though he is saying to the Africans “come join us. You have now joined the rest of the world”, whereas there is no grand Islamic image that could be considered attractive.Ahmad Al Katani:
True, True. This is a correct saying and I really don’t have a response. I cannot say more than this.Maher Abdallah:
OK, if we return to our topic; you mentioned that some Africans, and I saw some Africans who would fast and pray with us in Europe, who did not know that fornication is not allowed, or think that if the girlfriend is monogamous then this can be categorized as GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª.Ahmad Al Katani:
Categorized as allowed.Maher Abdallah:
Categorized as allowed. So this is one issue actually opens another door which is that it is not enough to invite people to Islam but you must educate the muslims with what they must know, what is commonly called “That which is necessarily known in religion.” For example, the issue of fornication should be elementary. Ahmad Al Katani:
My honored sir, with all regret and pain we have failed in creating an upright muslim in the Arab nations. A while ago, the French newspaper “Le figaro” published a very strange and disturbing article which said that a wealthy Arab lost 85 million dollars in one night on the gambling tables and that’s not all. He even gave the waitresses a one million dollar tip.
We did not create an upright muslim. In England there is an association called “Mecca” and I repeat the name “Mecca” that is a gambling house. It has 135 branches all over England and the majority of its customers are Arabs. We did not create a muslim who can be considered a good example in our own Arab lands, so how can we do this in foreign lands? We live in a tragedy my sir, I swear by Allah we are living in a tragedy.Maher Abdallah:
We return to our viewers and we have brother Abbas Hamid from Holland. Brother Abbas go ahead.Abbas Hamid:
Peace be upon you.Maher Abdallah:
And upon you.Abbas Hamid:
My brother my Allah reward you. We muslims in Holland suffer a lot when we see issues like this and we really suffer when we see a muslim, as the sheikh said, who spends millions in bars and entertainment while other muslims are lost and cannot find a translation of the Koran. Even their children who are able to learn cannot memorize the Koran, they can’t find a translated Koran or even any translated book. The first thing we must do is mend our selves; the Islamic countries must fix themselves first and then they can look at Africa. May Allah reward you and this issue is interesting.Maher Abdallah:
Thank you, we have brother Mohammed El Shami from Lebanon. Brother Mohammed go ahead.Mohammed EL Shami:
Peace be upon you.Maher Abdallah:
And upon you.Mohammed EL Shami:
My dear sir, talking about Christianization requires an understanding of Islam and Christianity in a detailed way. There is a huge difference the between Islamic doctrine and Christian doctrine. Islamic doctrine is simple, clear and convincing. Christian doctrine is mysterious, complicated and full of contradiction. So the cause of the problem is the careless attitude on the part of muslims, especially from the governing bodies that are responsible for the welfare of muslims. If it wasn’t for the ignorance of the muslims of their own religion, a complicated doctrine such as Christianity would not have found a place to set foot on Islamic soil. Had it not been for poverty and the condition of the muslims, Christian schools and hospitals would not have flourished. This is primarily the responsibility of the nations to confront the Christian missionary activity, not by giving aid or individual effort or humanitarian relief organizations but by the leadership in the Islamic world who should adopt Islam as a way to live and a path for life. They must teach Islam and invite others to it and prevent Christian missionary activities. One cannot treat a disease by allowing the virus that caused it to remain in the body and spread its poison. Unless we do this, we cannot confront Christianization. Maher Abdallah:
OK thank you very much brother Hamid. We have brother George Khoury from Syria go ahead.George Khoury:
Peace be upon you.Maher Abdallah:
Welcome to you.George Khoury:
I would like to address the reverend Sheikh, he appears to be a learned expert, however I wish the program would have had a Nazarene or Christian person on the show to respond to the Sheikh’s comments. First of all, Christianization of Africa: our Christianity requires us to love and live in peace. At the same time we are required to rescue the overwhelmed, aid the helpless; love and charity are the most important things in our religion. As a Christian living in the Middle East, I have not noticed persecution of Christianity; rather, the persecution is of muslims towards other muslims. As proof of this, the majority of Arab rulers or religious figures or owners of wealth in the Persian Gulf or Arab nations try to establish projects in Europe using their money, or attempt to destroy other political ruling systems and they leave their Islam. This opposes the law, even Islamic law. So I request from the honorable sheikh that first thing he does is prepare muslim religious leaders and sons of the muslim community who will spread love and peace. I only see the murderous Muslim Brotherhood groups, the terrorists and the like who contradict the Islamic religion in the Middle East.
The prophet commanded brotherly love and asked people to take care of the seventh and even the fortieth neighbor. He even said if you were grilling a chicken on the coals and you neighbor smelt its aroma, then you have harmed him (by making him hungry). As muslims, you must give half of this food to your neighbor, but with all regret, I haven’t noticed this in the Middle East.Maher Abdallah:
Thank you brother George. I am sure that the Sheikh will answer you.Ahmad Al Katani:
Allow me to answer him.Maher Abdallah:
Yes. Go ahead.Ahmad Al Katani
George, to start off I would like to thank you for your etiquette and your pleasant manner that you spoke with. Secondly, I don’t blame the Christians and I personally have many Christian friends; I respect them and they respect me and I would like to add you to that list if you don’t mind. Thirdly, I have not talked and Allah willing, I will not talk about Christianity as a religion. I am talking about Christianization, which is taking muslims out of Islam by taking advantage of certain circumstances and making them Christian. As for your saying that the Middle East is bloody with murder committed by the Muslim brotherhood, and you can even say that “The Part of Allah - Hezbolla” commits these acts, I know all what is said, this is not true.
This type of talk, if you don’t mind me saying, is simply untrue. Please allow me to say this and accept what I am about to say, that there isn’t in the world anyone who sheds more blood than the Christians. You are an exception; you and pure people like yourself. For example, you are aware that mixed marriages between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox are not conducted. Can there be any more separation than this? You also know what happened when the French Catholics annihilated thousands of Protestants. You also know that John F. Kennedy, the only Catholic to be elected a U.S. President was assassinated because he was a Catholic. You are also aware that Nicaragua, which is a Catholic Christian nation, executed six missionary monks even though the Pope was intending to visit that country and he did visit it. You are also aware that in Ireland today battles are waged everyday, killing every day, to the point that even children are killing children between Catholics and Protestants.Maher Abdallah:
Alright our Sheikh, allow me GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ÂªAhmad Al Katani:
Please let me finish brother Maher; may Allah bless you. The honored sir also knows that a Catholic does not pray inside an Orthodox Church or a Protestant church. My dear sir, Time magazine reported in December of 1982 that 126 Protestant missionaries were killed in Colombia, which is a Catholic nation. It also closed 279 schools and 60 Protestant churches in South America.
My dear sir, we muslims don’t have such things, we don’t have it at all. However, you are an exception. I know who I am addressing this to, not to you or to pure gentle people like yourself. Maher Abdallah:
Allow me to return to another part of what George said, because he mentioned another side relating to the approach we use in inviting others to Islam. But first let us take some more calls.Completed translation will follow soon.