MUSLIMS PRAYING EVERY FRIDAY ON MADISON AVENUE?
An email that started circulating a few years ago (and is once more doing the rounds) shows a number of photographs of hundreds of Muslims praying in the street on Madison Avenue, New York. The email warns that this is the result of Obama’s presidency, and urges Christians to respond in various ways.
BUT this email is once again a mixture of truth and lie: yes, the photos are real, but it is NOT something that happens every Friday.
The following explanation is edited from information published on Snopes.com (a reputable website that provides information about disputed ‘truths’ that are circulating).
“To those who have not witnessed the spectacle themselves (or have merely viewed photographs of it with no explanatory context), the sight of hundreds of Muslims praying in the middle of Manhattan’s streets is likely a startling image. Although the pictures are real, they depict a phenomenon that has been taking place regularly for many years (one which long antedates the presidency of Barack Obama).
These photos originated with New York City’s annual American Muslim Day Parade, an event first held in 1985 (long before Barack Obama entered the world of politics) and every year since.
As the parade’s organizers note of its history:
New York City is the capital of the world and center of center of economic, business, social and cultural activities. When it comes to social and cultural activities, it houses many ethnic groups from around the world such as Irish, Italian, Latin, Afro-American, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim. Up until 1985, all these groups were celebrating their ethic and cultural heritage in one form or the other, which included street activities, festivals and parades, with the exception of the Muslims.
So, in 1984, a few Muslim brothers got together, thought that Muslims should also demonstrate their different cultures along with their Islamic values. The Muslim Foundation of America, Inc. was founded in 1984 – a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization – and organized its first Muslim Day Parade in 1985. Since then they have been dutifully holding this parade every year on the last Sunday of September. The parade always has an Islamic theme and a Muslim Grand Marshal. It represents many Muslim nationalities and their cultures.”
The photographs displayed in the email were taken four years ago at the Muslim Day Parade on 18 October 2009.
Link to the original information: http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/changingface.asp
FROM AN INCONTEXT PERSPECTIVE
Despite the fact that the circulating email is not true in various aspects, there should be no illusions about the agenda and vision of Muslims in the USA. Praying in the streets in New York (even when it ‘only’ occurs as an annual cultural event) must be seen in the context of the Islamic worldview, international Islamic mission activities (“Dawa”) and the vision of global expansion and domination.
According to a 2008 documentary film The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America, the filmmakers contend that radical Islamists are engaging in a “multifaceted strategy to overcome the western world”, waging a “cultural jihad” to “infiltrate and undermine our society from within”. This includes the “Third jihad”, which refers to a non-violent approach.
One of the main organizations in this regard is the Muslim American Society (MAS). Described on their website (http://www.muslimamericansociety.org/main/content/about-us) as a “dynamic, charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational organization”, MAS offers “unique programs and services that seek to better the individual and, in turn, the greater society, by imparting Islamic knowledge”. Their mission is “to move people to strive for God consciousness, liberty, and justice and to convey Islam with utmost clarity”.
According to the Atlas of Global Christianity, statistics show that Islam in America has grown from 11,700 followers in 1910 to 7.74 million followers in 2010. Even though the numbers are quite spectacular, it still only represents 1.6% of the US population – a surprisingly small percentage considering the widespread Islamic ‘presence’ and influence.
From a Christian perspective, the response from the Church should never be based on fear, anger or prejudice. The comments on the emails are sensational and do not reflect the heart of Christ, the truth about the situation, or the context in which the prayers took place. Christian response should be rooted in obedience when stirred by the Spirit, not when stirred by emotional hype.
Let us continue to be AWAKE, as Jesus warned His followers time and time again, but let us never confuse alertness and responsiveness with misinformed aggression.