When Acts 17 Apologetics produced it first YouTube video, I was quite pleased. Here, there was finally someone that seemed to fit the actual claim of an "Ex-Muslim Christian" who was interested in serious but sincere respectful dialogue. I suppose I was let down on many fronts, but it was my own fault, I set myself up for this one and I should have known better.
I read Dr Nabeel Qureshi's testimony and was moved by it, in terms of the feelings his family went through. I told him so via email. I re-read it a little while back and noticed the small print, you would almost miss it if you blinked, I did the first time. He was an Ahmadi, a group that is regarded by Muslims of all sects, unanimously, as being outside of Islam.
But thats not all that bad, at least he would have read the Quran and have a reasonable amount of knowledge about Islam. The debut YouTube video of Acts 17 Apologetics seemed very good superficially but any slightly detailed look demonstrated the error of the position put forward by Dr Nabeel Qureshi.
I did just that, took a detailed look at the position he put forward and showed the deficiencies in a two part video response:
Which Dr Nabeel Qureshi said that he liked in a private message to me.
I was looking forward to another YouTube video from Acts 17 Apologetics and was rewarded, so I thought initially, by not one but TWO YouTube videos:
These videos can be paraphrased as follows:
An Arab/Islam Festival called Arab Fest 2009 was taking place in Dearborn USA. Glorious sunshine light the streets and smiling families eating ice-cream wonder past giddily revolving children's rides. The hubbub of gentle talking and children's laughter ripples across the scene. Momentarily, there is peace on God's earth.
In this serene setting Dr Nabeel Qureshi, Mr Wood and others in a crew of debaters with a camera in hand were on a mission. Having obtained a leaflet that claimed that Islam was a peaceful religion Dr Qureshi authoritatively quotes Surah 9 verse 29 to his camera wielding crew member in an effort to "demonstrate" that Islam is not a peaceful religion.
A few clouds are now beginning to gather on this idealic scene and a few nervous glances are cast by passersby at this threatening camera crew and women glance around to see if their children are within sight.
Dr Qureshi followed by his camera wielding crew now make their way to an Islam Information Stand, in a live demonstration of "I iz right". A short young man turns towards the voice of Dr Qureshi, who towers over him and who is waving said pamphlet in his face (like a subpoena or a warrant) demanding an answer to his "question".
[This young man reminds me momentarily of Prophet David (pbuh) faced with Goliath (Dr Qureshi's Masters in Christian Apologetics certainly adds to my perception)]
I dont really know what goes through the young man's mind, it may have been arrest and detention without charge, extra-ordinary rendition, Gitmo (surely thats closed?) or another of a plethora of Gulag's in which Muslims are held and tortured but his response is virtually automatic. "Turn off the camera".
Dr Qureshi, immediately and triumphantly turns to his camera wielding crew and claims that the refusal to answer his question is "evidence" that the pamphlet is a deception and the Muslims are hiding something.
Sigh. Strike TWO.
Dr Qureshi's use of Surah 9 to "demonstrate" Islam is not a peaceful religion is truly deserving of strike in its own right but I am generous. I would have expected Dr Qureshi to know that Surah 9 is not what he claims it to be. In fact, this is such a widely misused piece of Quran that has so often been refuted, I am sure by Dr Qureshi himself in his Ahmadi days, that I will not bother to quote it. I was disappointed to say the least.
The saga however is not over.
Mr Woods then claims, facing his camera wielder, that he was almost tricked in to handing out a Christian Pamphlet, in a effort to have him removed from the fest. So, to clarify, Mr Wood, a Christian Evangelist, Apologist and Propagator, had Christian Pamphlets with him which he brought to the ArabFest 2009 to NOT distribute [eyes roll upwards].
The indignation in Mr Wood's eyes is matched for a moment by the Dr Qureshi's anguish that this "virtual almost trapping" of Mr Wood was not caught on camera. Mr Wood then remonstrates about the Freedom that Islam inevitably removes from this American street and Dr Qureshi welcomes the audience to "Shariah".
Strike THREE. Your OUT.
I wonder what would happen to some Muslims turning up at a Christian festival, carrying out similar antics? Walking around with a camera (whilst Muslim - probably a Federal offense anyway), being confrontational to stand volunteers?
What disappoints me the most is that, here, Acts 17 Apologetics are moving away from any real attempt at a discussion to try and establish Islam's or Christianity's position on any given topic and we have a moving towards a fear-mongering "Islam is taking over the USA and imposing Shariah law on us" proof by overt suggestion methodology.
I wish Dr Qureshi and Mr Wood all the best and would advise that to improve their attempts at teaching Muslims about Christianity they will have to change their approach. I hope that future Acts 17 Apologetics YouTube videos are not so insubstantial and so obviously fear-mongering.
For me and for many other Muslims, the resort to the tactics mentioned above is a sign of a weak position and not a strong one. To help Muslims with the many dilemmas within Christianity, please deal with the substantial issues: Original Sin, Trinitarianism and Monotheism, Can God Forgive sin?... to name but a few.
For example, Muslims dont believe that God made all of Mankind bear the guilt of the sin of just two people, that is unjust and Muslims dont believe that God is unable to forgive sin and requires payment, even if that meant paying Himself by becoming a man and committing suicide (or killing another innocent), that a weakness and another injustice.
May God guide us all always closer to His Truth. Ameen.