Recently, Muslims celebrated Eid.  I was invited to some of the celebrations but couldn’t attend for scheduling conflicts.  Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to do it – what is it?

Wikipedia:  Eid-ul-Fitr, “Eid-ul-fitr”, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr (Arabic: ‎عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day and Muslims are not permitted to fast that day. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “breaking the fast”. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month Shawwal. This is a day where Muslims around the world try to show a common goal of unity.

Eboo Patel wrote an article for CNN, and it included a portion from the section in his new book “Sacred Ground” – you can read about it here.

I know it’s unusual for an evangelical to have so many real friends of so many different religions – but it shouldn’t be.  Jesus loved all people, all classes, all sexes, all everything!  The only way people will ever be open to the message of Jesus is if that message is lived out in us and we love others regardless.  I know this; I’ve received as much from loving people of other faiths as anything in my life.  I’ve written on this before how it makes you think, what you believe and why.  It makes you get out on the edge of loving others – which is EXACTLY what Jesus did.  He loved the tax collectors, drunks, gluttons, prostitutes – all of them.  He loved Jews & Gentiles like me!  How can we possibly cut out a class of people to love?  It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or shouldn’t challenge them.  It does mean we are to be light and salt.

Let me tell you some things about Muslims most Christians don’t know – and I’m speaking in terms of most, not all Muslims.

#1 You can’t be a good Muslim without believing in Jesus.  They believe in his virgin birth – but not from the Father of God.  They believe in his miracles.  They believe in his perfection.  They believe in his unique place.  They do not believe as I do that he was God in flesh or the Trinity.  The Muslims I know, love to talk about Jesus if you open up the conversation.

#2 Most Muslims in the US are here because they want the freedoms we have.  If they wanted Islamic law and culture – they would be in Islamic nations globally.  If you asked them, they’d tell you that.  Like Christians who came here wanting freedom of religion and separation of church and state – those concepts are deeply on the mind of Muslims globally and many want their children raised in a place where it’s practiced.  Most in the US see the value in that and most that I know, would fear the US becoming an Islamic nation.  Money was not the only reason and/or primary reason many came.

#3 Most Muslims are afraid of Islamic terrorists as much as Anglo Christians are – that’s why some are here.  The majority of violence perpetrated in the name of God in the world is Muslim on Muslim.  Yes, some Muslims commit terrorist acts against non-Muslims – but they by far kill their own people more than others.  The is one reason the majority of Muslims came here.  THEY WANT PEACE.

#4 Most Muslims want a relationship with Christians and others – but they are afraid to reach out.  They are the minority.  It’s up to the majority to reach out and build relationships.  A couple of weeks ago, there were 14 acts of violence against Muslims and mosques in the US.  Our church has many ways of reaching out to others across lines of different faiths.  Some of the kindest and closest friends we have are people of other faiths.  Many who come to America value relationship and friendship far more than Americans do.  Those friendships have the potential of going very, very deeply for those who are not afraid.

#5 God has a special plan for Muslims.  How can I say that?  There are 1.3 or 1.5 billion of them in the world.  He loves them.  They matter to God.  God always moves in the masses.  You cannot ignore that many people.  God created all people.  He has a plan for them just as he has for other nations and peoples.  In the Old Testament, there were times that God moved among the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Syrians, the Egyptians, and, yes, the Jews.  I pray daily that God be glorified and Jesus exalted among all peoples and nations – Muslims included.

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