By Mark Tapson
Dr. Mark Christian is the President and Executive Director of the Global Faith Institute (GFI), a Christian organization based in Omaha, Nebraska dedicated to “the proclamation and pursuit of truth as it relates Middle Eastern history and current happenings.” Dr. Christian, an Egyptian-born Christian convert from Islam related to high-ranking leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, is now engaged in a battle to root out the Brotherhood influence in what is called the Tri-Faith Initiative, a building project in Omaha.
The Tri-Faith Initiative was begun to build a center comprised of Temple Israel, a new Episcopal church, and a mosque the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture in West Omaha, forming “a multi-faith neighborhood of collaboration.” Their “vision is to build bridges of Respect, Trust and Acceptance, to challenge stereotypes of each other, to learn from one another, and to counter the influence of extremists and agents of hate.” But as a GFI statement reads, “the mosque – and those behind it – have distinct ties to groups previously named as ‘unindicted co-conspirators’ in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorist funding investigation in our nation’s history.”
Dr. Christian recently appeared on the Glazov Gang show with FrontPage’s own Dr. Jamie Glazov to discuss his religious conversion and the Initiative. He also co-wrote an article for FrontPage Magazine on how the Initiative mirrors the conditions for dhimmitude which originated in Islam’s earliest days. Dr. Christian also appeared onstage with Jamie Glazov at an event hosted by GFI in Omaha on August 7, when both men confronted Dr. Naser Z. Alsharif, Director of the Middle East Cultural and Educational Services, over the Muslim Brotherhood’s subversive connection to the Tri-Faith Initiative. [The video of Jamie Glazov’s fiery attack on Alsharif can be seen here]
Dr. Christian was kind enough to make himself available to answer a few questions.
Mark Tapson: Can you talk briefly about your own background as a former Muslim, why you converted to Christianity, and what it was like for you as a Christian convert in Egypt?
Mark Christian: Growing up I was a very devout Muslim. I was indoctrinated into the Islamic theology and teachings at a surprisingly young age. I was very active in memorizing and learning the Quran, serving at mosques and acting as an imam.
Eventually, after extensive Islamic theological and historical study, I began seeking answers regarding the fundamental tenets of Islam, a query which – though vehemently opposed – exposed the Islamic myth; a quest which, after years of deliberation, ultimately led to walking away from Islam, based on the inconsistencies I discovered.
After nearly 10 years of “spiritual wandering,” I would come to discover the truth of Jesus Christ and commit my life to Him, diverted destiny, ditched Islam for good, and eventually became devoted to follow my Lord and savior Jesus Christ in March, 2003, a conversion which later ignited a murderous hatred from my own father and family.
MT: How does your background, and having relatives in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leadership, inform your concerns about what may really be going on in the Tri-Faith Initiative?
MC: Though never a member myself, my great-uncle is one of the founders of the Muslim brotherhood, my father is a member since his teens and still is a persuasive advisor for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – as well as through my uncle, who, during the massive imprisonment of the Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt in 1965, shared a cell with Sayyid Qutb, the revered and infamous ideologue for the Brotherhood’s movement. My experience with the Muslim Brotherhood revolved specifically around their “re-grouping” period, which, beginning in the 1970’s, gave me a direct view of their machinations and motivations.
I came to America in 2005, where I developed an increasing awareness of the shocking degree of Islamic infiltration and their prolific agenda in the United States. Recognizing the urgency of this grim threat to cherished American freedoms, I responded through the formation and leadership of Global Faith Institute.
MT: How do you respond to the Muslim representatives of the Tri-Faith Initiative who disavow any connection with the Muslim Brotherhood and who dismiss your concerns of a cultural jihad?
MC: I would ask them to open their books to an independent auditor on an ongoing basis, first to ensure that these organizations are indeed uninvolved, and secondly, to ensure that they do not reenter the project at a later date.
I would ask them why they invited the then-President of the Islamic Society of North America, a known Muslim Brotherhood front group, to be the keynote speaker for their groundbreaking gala celebration.
I would ask them to explain why ISNA is listed as the head of their national movement on the Tri-Faith website, just as the Union of Reform Judaism and the Episcopal Church of North America is listed for the other Tri-Faith partners, and why CAIR brochures are “Recommended Reading” for those who wish to learn more about Islam.
Perhaps more importantly though, I would ask them how they reconcile the repugnant ideological component groups like CAIR and ISNA carry with them. An organization does not spring forth from the Muslim Brotherhood, funded and established as an operational arm of the MB in America, simply to abandon the Islamist underpinnings of its founders.
Indeed, in the case of ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America, all but one of the original Muslim Brotherhood founders are still with the organization, or one of its affiliates. Clearly the reality trumps the empty disavowals.
MT: What’s wrong with the notion in general of interfaith initiatives like Tri-Faith? Can they ever lead us to really “coexist,” as the bumper sticker says, or can there be no compromise?
MC: I love the idea of the Tri-Faith. When I first became aware of it I was elated at the prospect of a true interfaith dialogue between historically incompatible beliefs. I still believe that many Muslims have no interest in pursuing the hatred of the Islamists, they simply want to practice their faith as do Christians and Jews, peacefully and without coercion.
The problem however lies in the unwillingness of these moderates to assert themselves against the more vocal and often violent cadre of Muslims who believe in the spread of Islam by any means necessary.
They find themselves in a difficult position: do they adhere to the unreformed teachings of an irredentist Islamist ideology or do they adopt the mores of the western nations they live in, freedom of religion, association and a revulsion toward religious bigotry? Too often they follow the former path and it is this sad fact that dooms interfaith efforts to failure before they even begin.
Interfaith dialogue requires transparency, trust, and above all, a shared belief that each of us have the freedom to worship as we choose, or perhaps not to worship at all. Only one participant operating in violation of these precepts is needed to change the interfaith dynamic into a competition, or worse, a subjugation.
I know that the ideology behind CAIR and ISNA is poisonous to a cooperative interfaith project. They cannot operate as merely one among equals. They will always push Islam to the fore, at the expense of the other partners. My background as a former Muslim, my training to be a Muslim leader and my intimate understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood itself, taught to me from the inside, by my father and my uncle, tells me that when the Brotherhood is involved, Islam will reign, or Islam will fight.
Already, the Muslims have exerted authority not given to the other members of the Tri-Faith by insisting that the Synagogue and the Church have no outward indications of faith, such as a Cross or a Menorah, or Star of David.
Now, they will deny this, but have you ever found a church that was offended by a synagogue displaying the Menorah, or a synagogue that demanded a church hide its Cross? Of course not. Only the Muslims have a problem with that, and already they have exercised that bit of power over their partners, before the buildings were even built. With the involvement of CAIR and ISNA, those little insinuations of doctrine will increase, until finally, Islam stands supreme over the conduct of the entire project. It is this eventuality we are hoping to prevent.
MT: On the GFI home page it is written that “we as American Christians have sacrificed the truth for comfort and compromised our faith.” Can you expound on that a bit? How can Christians lead the way back to America becoming a “shining city on a hill”?
MC: We are fortunate to live in a nation where the sovereignty of the individual is respected in law. We have rights that are not subject to the whim of governments and this has led to a blossoming freedom unlike any seen before. But it has also created a complacency, a tendency among many to take for granted our freedom to worship.
We have ignored countless minor assaults on our faith until now – the sum total of these threatens to undermine our faith entirely. We sacrifice truth for comfort. We fail to stand up to the bigots and bullies who try to dominate or delegitimize our faith, turning instead to the easy path, allowing these little intrusions, bearing the indignity in order to avoid the confrontation.
We can’t lead our families in faith, nor show ourselves before others as an example of what His mercy can do, unless we are willing to face those confrontations with God’s grace and to stand firm against that which we know is wrong, no matter the cost in prestige, reputation or, as the Christians of Iraq and Syria are now experiencing, our lives.
Stand firm now, and we will never reach that point here in America, and God willing, we can relight the beacon of hope for those around the world who are not as fortunate as we. We can turn back the 7th century ideologues who believe God wishes his salvation to come through a sword on an unbeliever’s neck.