SHAFAQNA – A Christian group in Regina has been praying for Muslims. According to the Canadian Network of Ministries to Muslims’ website, these prayers are with “faith, hope and love for the Muslim world.”
“Through prayer we can engage in an active love for the Muslim world, sharing their burdens, and understanding their concerns,” said Harold Lutzer, a member of the Canadian Network of Ministries to Muslims.
“In this way, we really fulfil Jesus’ command to love our neighbours as ourselves.”
The group in Regina is only two months old, but groups from the organization across the country have also worked to help refugees coming into the country settle into their communities.
He said the group hopes that through helping Muslims, they can tell more Muslims about Jesus. On the organization’s website, it says their mission is to “equip the Canadian church to help Muslims in Canada become disciples of Jesus Christ.”
“Yes our aim is also to present Jesus to them, but no one can ever convert them, it’s only God who can do that,” said Lutzer.
Lutzer said he thinks that many Muslims are converting to Christianity around the world.
“It’s not happening that much in Canada, but I believe it will happen,” said Lutzer. “There are many countries where they are coming to faith in Jesus. That’s encouraging.”
Labiba Aboguddah, a Campion College student who is active in the Muslim community, sees a problem with the way this is being approached by the group.
“It doesn’t make sense that they just want a specific group, in this case Muslims to convert,” Aboguddah wrote in an email.
However, she sees why the group would use this method of helping the community in hopes of converting others.
“They want others to know what Christianity is about, and one of their ways is by helping those in need,” Aboguddah said.
“The way I think of it is, looking at the Muslim community, a lot of them do great things because it is part of Islam, but also to show people what Islam is about– peaceful and fair.”
She wrote that this is done with the hopes that people of other religions will educate themselves on Islam so there can be less hate.
Goal should focus on interfaith relationship
For Jimmy Schimmel, an active member of the Christian community and executive director at Katepwa Lake Bible Camp, the goal should be to build better interfaith relationships rather than conversion.
“Our foundational belief is that relationship is key to building trust and growth in a community,” said Schimmel.
He added the goal of conversion does not necessarily foster a good dialogue between different faiths, and saw that goal as a way of just providing checklists and numbers.
Schimmel also said that he doesn’t see discipleship as being about converting people to the faith.
“The foundation of a disciple is to build a relationship, so essentially we’re supposed to go out and build relationships with each other,” said Schimmel.
“If you can get past differences in beliefs, the relationships you build are going to be stronger, they are going to last longer, and those are the relationships that are going to stay life long.”