How Not to Talk to a Muslim

This frustrates me to no end

St. Nicholas of Myra – A Catholic Saint born in modern day Turkey

Recently a relative of mine was in Istanbul, Turkey for vacation.  Despite having a devout Muslim leader, Turkey is known to be a less religious and more liberal Muslim country.  This is especially true of the city of Istanbul which is probably the least religious city in Turkey.  Regardless, we can reasonably say that the people of Istanbul are not Christian.  Despite once being the “New Rome” and holding the second most authoritative bishopric in Christendom after Rome, modern Istanbul is not a Christian city in the least.

This relative was on a tour and she found out that the tour guide was Muslim and that his grandfather was an Imam.  She asked if the Quran says to “kill the infidel.”  He said that it doesn’t say to kill, but to convert the infidel.  She then asked in response: “And what does it say to do if they don’t convert?”  There was more but does it really matter at this point?

She explained this to me at a family event.  I was so disappointed.  This Turk has probably almost never heard good arguments for the Christian faith.  He’s probably never met a believing Christian, let alone discussed religion with them.  My relative has never studied an Islamic text in her life.  The Turk most likely left the conversation thinking that she was an ignorant close-minded Westerner who’s made no attempt to understand the Islamic faith but only believes what she hears on Fox or CNN.  Sad but true.

This Turk is probably bombarded with a lot of ideology.  Istanbul is at a crossroads of many cultures.  He’d be exposed to Islam and Kemalist Freemasonry.  He’d probably be exposed to a lot of European secularism as well.  Regardless of what he chooses to believe of these, all of them will keep him separated from God.

He could have been exposed to a Christian witness.  He could have heard about God’s only begotten Son and Messiah Jesus Christ.  He could have been encouraged to read the Gospels and the words of our Lord recorded by his first century followers as opposed to His supposed words recorded in a 7th Century text completely separated from the Jesus tradition.  He’s probably never been exposed to any of that.  Sadly, he’s probably heard a lot of B-grade attacks against Muhammad and Islam by people who have never studied the religion.

I live in Canada.  It’s a very secular country but we have some Christian believers here.  Regardless, there is far more access to the Gospel here than in Turkey.  It’s a lot easier to get a Bible, icon or rosary here in Canada.  Who knows if this man will ever hear a presentation of God’s real intention for mankind.  It was a wasted opportunity.  This is especially true since there are no government imposed penalties for changing one’s religion in Turkey.

I want all Christian readers of this blog to ask themselves: If I had been having this conversation with the Turk, what would I have said?

If you have any comments on proper dialoguing with a Muslim, feel free to share them.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “How Not to Talk to a Muslim

  1. This is a bit of a conundrum. You are correct that it is better to be positive, and make the case for Christ, but you cannot always do this. Evangelism is difficult and in the circumstances in which your relative interacted with a Muslim left little opportunity for the most learned and enthusiastic Christian to plant the seeds. Bear in mind that Muslims think that Islam is the true religion, and they are certain of it. They have their own, very limited concept of Jesus that was clumsily foisted on them by Mohammed when he was making up the Koran, so I would not expect them to be too ready to try to understand what we have been taught about Him.

    Personally I think that your relative did right in presenting a tough challenge to the Muslim, and may have done some good. I wish that Islam were challenged more often in the public sphere. All too often Islam gets an easy ride in spite of what it commands and exhorts its devoted followers to do. It is so flawed and so obviously made up to suit the personal land political desires of Mohammed that it is hard to understand how anyone in today’s world can be duped into believing it. Mind you, many Muslims have only a partial understanding of their religion and ignore (or are kept ignorant of) the wickedness and violence that it is founded on. Perhaps when the better educated ones in the West actually start to question things more they will turn from their religion and discover the true one. A good way to get them to think is to set them problems so that they have to try and defend their false religion. Jesus Christ also challenged people and their beliefs and actions, and He upset plenty of His contemporaries. We might actually be following in His footsteps when we point out deceit, hypocrisy and wickedness.

    • Sorry for the late reply. I was travelling on the weekend.

      So then you would follow the same strategy as my relative? You said:
      “Personally I think that your relative did right in presenting a tough challenge to the Muslim, and may have done some good.”
      Okay, let’s say my relative got this man to denounce Islam. He’s no closer to Jesus Christ than he was when he was a Muslim. There is a far greater chance that this man would turn to atheism. There are a lot more atheists from Istanbul than Catholics.

      We all have to think of our own strategies but I would go with the Gospel. Islam is not bad because the Quran commands certain things. It’s bad because it gives false information about God and Christ. However, I wish you the best of luck in your dialogues with Muslims.

      • You quoted part of my post, but it is important to bear in mind that I said a lot more besides.

        I agree with you that to argue the case for Christ is most important, and indeed is the key to winning Mulsims. You are quite correct to desire this but (more often than not) there is not always the time, the opportunity or the willing ears to do that.

        All the best.