Subject:      Saifullah's accusations to Jay Smith
From:         Jochen Katz <>
Date:         1997/05/11
Message-Id:   <5l5li2$>
Newsgroups:   soc.religion.islam

Dear Saifullah,

as you could imagine your public accusation was forwarded by me
to Jay Smith to ask him for his perspective on the issue and here
is his response.

        Concerning the problem of prayer in a mosque, you sent
under the title:   Re: conversion: a christian deception
in article <5kl4an$>:

>well, i thing i have mentioned about your buddy joseph smith and his
>deceptive tactics. for all who did not know, joseph smith used to pray
>with muslims and suddenly one day he said that he is "leaving islam" to
>debate whether quraan is the word of god. jochen, smith prayed in a mosque
>not in a church with muslims. how about you joining us in prayers?

        As usual there are some truths to the above but as so often happens
when one has an agenda, it is skewed by assuming much and knowing little.
The truth is that I have been in mosques many times, in France, Senegal, the
U.S. and in Britain, although I have only been invited to pray in a few of
them by Muslim friends there.  Throughout my studies of Islam I have found
it best to discuss that which I am studying with fellow Muslim students, so
that I always had their personal perspectives on the subjects.
        Many times (especially during my studies in France, and at SOAS,
here in London) deeper friendships were formed, and in the years past my
Muslim friends would invite me to come to their prayer sessions with them,
especially during the time of the Rammadan fast.  At times they encouraged
me to pray alongside them, though they agreed that it was fine if I prayed
to Jesus, rather than do the standardized Muslim prayers.  Anyone looking on
from the outside could easily have misconstrued this to imply that I was
thus a Muslim.  Had they been a part of the discussion groups which preceded
or followed the prayers they would have seen immediately that I always made
it clear I was a Christian; and if that didn't convince them, then the
content of my arguments certainly would.  To say this is mere deception begs
the question.  Who was I deceiving?  Why would I go to the prayer rooms and
pray alongside my Muslim friends while telling them I was a fervent
Christian who had difficulties with many of their beliefs?
        Some of these same Muslim friends would also accompany me to my
church services, and would stand up with me when we prayed publicly, or sang
hymns.  To an onlooker, it could be construed that they were Christians, yet
I have never heard any Christians who were present make such a crude
accusation against them.
        This same accusation has been levelled at me numerous times at
Speaker's Corner, and I ask those who level it if they were ever present at
those prayers, and knew the Muslims who invited me there.  It would be
helpful if they asked them why I had been invited, and if I would continue
to be invited.  I would hope so, as I and my Christian brothers would
certainly show them the same courtesy.  We do well to go and participate
with those whom we have befriended in areas of worship which are the most
meaningful to them.
        As to the second accusation; never have I claimed to be a Muslim,
thus it seems absurd that suddenly one day I would have to say I was
'leaving Islam', in order to debate the authority of the Qur'an.  There are
some Christians who do claim to be Muslims, using the meaning of the word to
imply they likewise are 'obedient to God'.  This could easily be construed
as deception, so I don't use it.
        Certain Muslim friends who have been present when the above
accusations came up were offended and embarrassed by the triteness of the
accusers.  I think we need to ask why they level these accusations, and
realize there is an agenda behind them; one which seeks to discredit any of
us who dare to confront Islam head-on.  I find it odd that Saifullah would
accuse me of deception for going to a mosque to pray, and then in the
following sentence invite you, Jochen to do the same.  It's a smear
campaign, which we must stand against, and not let it sway us from the goal
at hand.


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