By Alec Rooney
The Christian Action Network
A great injustice has been exposed in Greece, where thousands of Middle Eastern migrants — many from Syria — are being warehoused after failing to get into Europe.
The injustice, recently uncovered by the UK Guardian newspaper, is that Greek aid workers are giving some of these migrants literature about converting to Christianity.
One document is a form that can be signed to express interest in conversion. The statement to be signed reads: “I know I’m a sinner ... I ask Jesus to forgive my sins and grant me eternal life. My desire is to love and obey his word.”
That’s right: Adherents of a religion known for converting “unbelievers” by the sword, or by punitively taxing them through the jizya, are being offered the opportunity to find peace and happiness through giving their lives over to Christ.
Although it’s unclear who is most scandalized, the Muslim migrants or the Guardian.
It’s “a big problem,” complained one Syrian asylum seeker interviewed by the newspaper. Other migrants at the same location, the Moria refugee center on the Greek island of Lesbos, described these mild attempts at conversion as “insensitive.”
“We like all religions,” said another Syrian asylum seeker, named Ahmed. “But if you are a Christian, and I give you a Qur’an, how would you feel?”
Well, to be honest, Ahmed, not all that bad. What is the harm in someone handing you a religious pamphlet? Or in your accepting it and giving it a quick read? It’s a good thing these sensitive souls aren’t in the United States, where tracts from the Jehovah’s Witnesses or a host of other churches can show up in the mailbox or on the car windshield or front door on any given day.
Only in America, such things aren’t condemned as “insensitive.” Some people might find them bothersome, but there’s a recognition that underlying the act is a concern, a desire for your well-being, a wish to adopt and include you in something that depends completely on your own free will, your ability to be persuaded.
It’s a reaching out, when someone tries to convert you with words and reason and concern. It’s an invitation, not an attack.
It’s a gesture of love.
And it’s a gesture of love that is being made for the migrants on Lesbos. Eat, drink, have shelter (however squalid) … and try out a new attitude that will improve both your own life and the lives of your family and neighbors.
To Christians, an invitation to partake in Christ’s love is as natural as a gift of food, clothing or shelter, all of which are currently being provided to Muslim migrants to the tune of billions or Euros, pounds and dollars.
Why is it that migrants (and so many journalists and politicians) view the necessities of life as something that must be provided to all, while Christian love, freely offered and not required or forced down anyone’s throat, is “a big problem” and “insensitive”?
“We’ll take your stuff,” they seem to be saying. “But you can keep the attitude that made you give it to us. We have no interest in that.”
Perhaps it’s because the very concept of “love” is so hard to locate in Islam. Granted, loving people is one of the hardest things a human being can be called upon to do. But in Islam, Allah does not set an example to follow. Allah does not love creation. Allah plays with creation and dominates it and bends it to his will. Perhaps this filters down to the lowliest of his subjects.
Never forget that while Islam declares “God is great” (Allah akbar), Christians declare, quite differently, “God is love.”