Letter: Town Hall speaker on Shariah says he was 'misrepresented'

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 11:42 PM

Editor,

I was the first main speaker at the Town Hall held at the Civic Center last Thursday and my presentation was misrepresented by Jake Old in his article, “Speaker warns against ‘political Islam.’” What follows are important corrections to his assertions.

The writer asserts that I “opened up the meeting with a wealth of anecdotal evidence as to why political Islam is a threat to western culture.” FACT: I said no such thing nor were my remarks slanted in that direction. I stated clearly that the two main points of my talk were 1) The first victim of Islam is the Muslim person, and 2) That God is on the move in the Muslim world.

The writer asserts that I made a statement that “calls into question a foundation of the democracy in our country.” Then, completely out of context, he follows with my statement, “Islam does not separate religion and politics, so why should we?” FACT: I was speaking about the Town Hall discussion in light of the fact that I work for a Christian ministry and was there addressing a secular Town Hall meeting about political Islam. There was no inference to America’s system of governance, just the discussion at hand.

The writer asserts that the bulk of my talk “revolved around abstract and anecdotal evidence” and stories told to me by former Muslims. FACT: Though I did include a few personal accounts of first hand knowledge and some direct statements made by former Muslims, the facts I presented were attributed to credible sources, including the Hadith (Islamic doctrine), Shariah law, Violence Against Women in Kurdistan, The Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, the International Center for Research on Women, the United Nations, The Middle Eastern Quarterly, author and career missionary Tom Doyle, Islamic expert and author Joel Richardson, etc. Perhaps it would have helped for me to have noted the security factor of the sources I chose not to reveal; their lives would have been endangered by the very topic of our discussion.

The writer also mischaracterized one of my final statements. After making the case to prove my second main point — that God is on the move in the Muslim world — I stated that “Jesus is going after the strongholds of Islam.” I stated this in light of the unprecedented conversions to Christianity around the world, including Imams from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Jihadists, and entire Mosques coming to faith in Christ. But the writer falsely asserted that I was suggesting that “Jesus was going to take over political Islam and shut it down.” Words matter and that’s not what I said or inferred.

Sadly, the writer missed the entire point and context of my talk, which was to invoke compassion for Muslim people (as the first victim of Islam) and to be encouraged to reach out to Muslim people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps my statement that “I love Muslim people” did not fit his preconceived narrative and therefore left it out entirely.

Matt Bonner

Southeast Regional Director

Cresent Project