Growing anti-Islamic trend accross Europe.
Recent days have seen thousands of Germans joining protests against Muslim migrants to their country. Whilst the organisers state that they are not against Muslims per se, rather challenging what they see as anti women and pro violent philosophies, the net result of these protests is a groundswell of anti Muslim sentiment.
These sentiments are being echoed around many European countries, and across the world, in nations where there has been a rise in the number of Muslim immigrants.
Much of this anti Muslim sentiment occurs through fear, fear that is stoked by the media, which focus predominantly on groups such as ISIL and the atrocities being committed across the Middle East. It also stems from an ignorance and lack of understanding of Muslim beliefs and cultures.
Sadly this fear and ignorance is also endemic in the Western church. Very few inner city churches are reaching out to their Muslim neighbours, even when the church is right next door to a mosque. Rather than seeing the opportunities on their doorstep to share the love and grace of Jesus, Christians are living in fear of losing their freedom to worship and all too often joining the argument against the immigration of Muslims.
With countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan still in turmoil and so many people needing a safe haven from war and conflict, the places that will welcome these needy people are becoming few and far between.
We, as followers of Christ, need to see these people through the eyes of Jesus, as a people who have lost their way and who are valuable in the eyes of God. And to be willing vessels of the Holy Spirit, the hands and feet of Jesus, through which He can reveal Himself, His love, grace and hope, to these needy and lost people.
- Pray for Christians in the west to have softened hearts towards their Muslim neighbours and to seek to get to know them and build bridges of friendship, through which many will come to the knowledge of God’s love and grace.
- Pray for churches to actively seek ways to reach out to the Muslim communities around them. And for tools such as Interserve’s “Friendship First” course to be used widely and to bring about a clearer understanding of the Muslim communities.
- Pray for those who are living in fear of the Muslim immigrants, that the perfect love of Christ will cast out this fear and replace it with love and compassion.
- Pray for Christians to be a voice of understanding that will rise above the growing anti Islam sentiment.