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September 1, 2016

My Muslim friends are not terrorists

Written by  an EMM worker
My Muslim friends are not terrorists Photo provided by the author.

This article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

The March 2016 attacks in Brussels hit close to home. It’s in the heart of our European continent, and we have stood exactly where the blast happened. I am horrified that this stuff continues in our world. But what really concerns me today is that isolated events like these will provide continued fuel to the fire of fear, mistrust, and hate of Muslims.

After a few years of living and doing business in the Balkans, in a majority Muslim country, it is inevitable that I have Muslim friends and Muslim business connections. They all live normal lives. Here are some examples.

Tori

Tori is a farmer. If you have farming in your blood, he would love to drink a coffee with you and ask you about what you do. He would also like to show you his forty-cow farm if you are interested. I’ll introduce you sometime if you want.

Ilija

Ilija is also a farmer. He struggles a little. He only has three cows. It’s all he can do to feed his many children. But Ilija and his wife would love to meet you if you are a foreigner. You will be treated on his front porch to Turkish coffee, candy, and maybe some of their homemade cheese. He will be smiling with pleasure the whole time he hosts you.

Mustafa

Mustafa is very religious and seems to follow a devout form of Islam. He’s got the full beard. He runs a dairy shop in a small nearby city. An honest guy; I would not worry about this guy ripping you off in his shop. A gentle man, he will give you a heartfelt hug when he greets you. His big problem is that the economy is shot and he can barely make ends meet from his store.

Sonela

She is a friend of my wife — one of the few Muslim women, in an increasingly materialistic Balkans, who has decided to set aside fashion and instead dress in traditional flowing Muslim garb. She and her husband struggle. They just want to live out their beliefs and be good people … but it can be hard in the Balkans. Not many people appreciate their form of belief or lifestyle.

Asqeri

Asqeri is a close friend of mine. He is pretty regular in going to the mosque on Fridays. A big concern of his is how to make a living in the Balkans. He would like to find work somewhere in the Middle East, North America, or Western Europe. Anything that can help give him a step up economically. He would love to meet with you and discuss Islam, Christianity, or whatever your religion may be.

Great friends

Let’s not judge the majority by the radical minority. Hardly any gun owners are school shooters. Hardly any policemen are racist. Hardly any white people are a part of the KKK. Hardly any Mexicans are criminals. And hardly any Muslims are terrorists.

The gun owners I know hunt deer, the policemen I know are fair-minded servants. The white people I know are friends with all races. The Mexicans I know are hard workers.

And the Muslims? Great friends!

*All names in the article are pseudonyms due to sensitivities.

An EMM worker is serving in a business for transformation ministry in the Balkans.

This article appears in the September/October 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.