The Muslim Anti-Mormons are Catching Up

August 12, 2004 | 16 comments
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Via Dave’s, I noticed a Dan Peterson FAIR Conference paper with a fun anecdote:

Let me tell you about an experience I had a few years ago. I was invited to do a Muslim/Mormon dialogue up at Idaho State in Pocatello. . . . The closer it got, the more awkward I felt about this upcoming “dialogue.” There were just some things about it that didn’t add up, and I began to feel that something was seriously wrong. When I got there I realized that it was. The room was absolutely jammed with Muslim anti-Mormon tracts. I hadn’t even known that such a thing existed. I can report to you, by the way, that they weren’t very good. They need to take a page from some of our Evangelical critics who can mount much better arguments than the ones they had. Nevertheless, it was a first step and you have to admire them for trying.

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16 Responses to The Muslim Anti-Mormons are Catching Up

  1. Josh Kim on August 12, 2004 at 4:06 pm

    wow….
    evangelical muslims?
    I still don’t understand.
    Maybe I never will.

  2. Josh Kim on August 12, 2004 at 4:08 pm

    wow….
    evangelical muslims?
    I still don’t understand.
    Maybe I never will.

  3. danithew on August 12, 2004 at 4:15 pm

    I recently had a post about an article in the Moscow Times that describes how Muslims and Christians in Russia organized against Mormons worshipping at a building near a mosque and a cathedral. That was the first time I had really heard of a group of Muslims opposing a Mormon purpose. This would be the second.

    But maybe I need to think about this a little bit more. There have to be other occurences of this that aren’t occurring to me.

  4. clarkgoble on August 12, 2004 at 4:23 pm

    This kind of stuff has actually been around for quite some time.

    However I have a funny story from my mission about when Evangelical anti-Mormon materials and Islam mix.

    We were teaching this guy from Jordan. Now in Louisiana the Evangelical sorts would often notice when we were teaching someone and then anti them. Usually if we’d made it to the 3rd discussion (old school ones, not the new ones introduced last year) the anti would actually help us since we could do the pray, listen to the spirit thing. However if we had only made it to the second it generally would kill our chances.

    Anyway, these evangelicals got this this Jordanian guy. Since we’d only taught one discussion we figured he was lost. So he’s telling us all the standard stuff that the antis had been going on about. Suddenly he launches into the polygamy bit that they’d antied him with. He gets this big grin on his face and says, “I have two sisters for you!” I guess it hadn’t quite worked the way the antis had hoped. We didn’t end up baptizing him, but it was a kind of funny experience having the anti-Mormon materials make him more pro-Mormon because it seemed to him like we had more in common.

  5. Dave on August 12, 2004 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks for the link, Kaimi. I encountered some pretty good Islamic anti-Christian stuff as a missionary. It focused on inconsistencies between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Of course, the Christian response is that when consistent, the gospels support each other, whereas an inconsistency is evidence of independent authorship and historical integrity.

  6. ronin on August 12, 2004 at 4:35 pm

    I grew up in India in a Hindu family, and one of my dad’s closest friends was a Muslim gentleman, and this gent had a brother who is a professor at one of the major State Univs on the Eastern part of the USA. When I was accepted to colege in Michigan, and was getting ready to leave, this family friend came by to give me a bunch of advice, and among other things, he told me to stay away from the “Mormon Cult”!!! Turns out, he had been getting Islamic literature from his brother in the USA, and they had been warned to be on the lookout for the “Mormons” who wereout to lead good Muslims astray.
    BTW, the majority Hindu culture also doesnt think to highly of our Church, and in fact have been forbidden to send any Elders andSisters there, ever since the BJP, the Hindu fundamentalist inspired Party came to power aroi[und ’97 or so. The only missionaries there are the couples that the Church sends out who do humanitarian work.
    End of rant!!!!

  7. Keith on August 12, 2004 at 5:20 pm

    I am really surprised to find Muslims and Evangelicals joining forces here, especially since what I have noticed from many like Falwell, Robertson, Graham (the younger) and others like them are very unfair attacks on Islam. These include something along the lines of “Christians and Jews worship the true God, and this isn’t the god that Muslims worship.” I’d even wanted to write something up about the rhetorical tactics they’ve been using, but simply haven’t had time. So I am really taken back by Dan Peterson’s story, especially given the good relations Mormons and Muslims have in so many quarters.

  8. Ryan Bell on August 12, 2004 at 5:31 pm

    Among other good nuggets in the Peterson speech at the FAIR conference, you’ll find this wonderful limerick:

    There was a great Marxist named Lenin
    Who did a million men in
    That’s a lot to have done in
    But where he did one in
    The great Marxist Stalin did ten in.

  9. Bryce I on August 12, 2004 at 5:34 pm

    I hang out with a bunch of evanglical Christians over on some homeschooling boards I frequent, and I can tell you that the level of anti-Muslim paranoia among some of them is frightening. There is a strong “us vs. them” mentality, with a sense of “they’re out to get us.”

    I don’t know very many Muslims.

  10. danithew on August 12, 2004 at 6:04 pm

    My main experience with the evangelical Christian-Muslim mix was at Aladdin’s moneychangers in East Jerusalem (anyone who has been to the BYU Jerusalem Center knows the place I’m talking about).

    There was a Lutheran evangelical minister there who would sort of lurk, always waiting for the LDS students to show up and then inviting them to come someplace to see The Godmakers.

    It was always amusing getting into arguments with him about anything because the Muslim moneychanger staff there would listen in and chuckle. It didn’t hurt that I was studying Islam a bit and could argue points that I knew the Muslims would appreciate on some level.

  11. clark on August 12, 2004 at 6:39 pm

    Interestingly I did a quick google search for Mormon and Islam and most of the hits were to anti-Mormon sites (or anti-Islamic sites) comparing the two. i.e. Islam is bad because it is like Mormonism or vice versa. Kind of funny actually.

  12. Adam Greenwood on August 12, 2004 at 6:45 pm

    I am surprised, merely because Muslims I’ve methave all been rock-solid, deep-determined to never budge an inch on their faith. You’d think they wouldn’t have the sort of insecurity and defensiveness that usually drives anti-Mormon literature.

  13. Geoff B on August 12, 2004 at 6:56 pm

    I had an interesting conversation with a Muslim once. I definitely caught his attention when I said that the Bible clearly says that there will be prophets after Jesus’ death. He said, “I have never heard a Christian say that.” My response: “It’s in the Bible. Some Christians just choose not to believe it.”

  14. Kaimi on August 12, 2004 at 8:18 pm

    And both groups have been tarred with the same anti-polygamy brush as well. E.g., Reynolds:

    “Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people. ”

    (See http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=98&page=145 ).

  15. danithew on August 12, 2004 at 9:55 pm

    In Israel/Palestine, Muslims can be pretty matter-of-fact about polygamy. On two different occasions I met a Palestinian man who had two wives. One was a taxi driver who seemed to want to enthusiastically tell me how great it was to have two wives. Maybe he felt like he was more of a man for that reason.

    The other occasion was a man who was my neighbor in a Palestinian village called Zaim (right below the Mt. of Olives village Al-Tur). This man had a fairly nice home with a big pool in his backyard (though I only saw males swimming there during the 6 months I was there). He also had received a college education in the United States … if I recall correctly at the University of Pennsylvania.

    He said that he had been married to only one wife for eleven years. He loved his first wife but they were unable to have children together. So they agreed that he would take another wife. He and his second wife had four or five children. He expressed to me that he could not stand his second wife and that if it were not for the children, he would divorce her.

    It’s kind of weird to hear a man who speaks perfect English and is very intelligent speak so matter-of-factly about his polygamous marriage situation.

    Oh, one more thing. When the first child, a daughter was born (to the second wife), he took the daughter and gave it to his first wife to raise.

    It’s kind of hard to tell whether Muslims and Mormons can use polygamy as a shared principle, since it has since been refuted by the LDS Church. Nevertheless, it made for some interesting Muslim-LDS conversations.

  16. Kristen on August 13, 2004 at 7:25 am

    My favorite experience (although I was not there with BYU Jerusalem) with the moneychangers was when a guy met our bus and said, “You’re from Utah? Do you know Brad?” (I know, not relevant to the conversation…)