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    Non-assimilation: How to share the gospel with people in a culture that keeps to itself

    By Call of Love Ministries On April 24, 2023 Category Practical Evangelism
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    Regardless of whether your Muslim friend has immigrated to your city from a foreign country or if they were born and raised on the same street as you, there is a certain level of exclusivity that Islamic communities have. This can make it hard for your Muslim neighbor to open up to you or include you in their lives.

    Where does this “closed-off-ness” stem from and how can Christians share the Gospel with people who don’t want to leave the comfort of their circle? That’s what we’ll answer in this post!

    Why do most Muslims keep to themselves?

    There are multiple factors that keep Muslim families and communities sequestered from other groups in western cultures. The first is simple: 

    1. Pride in Islam

    Muslims are taught to believe they are higher in rank and better than others because their “prophet” Muhammad received the final message from Allah to humanity and established the truest religion. They claim that since they believe they have the purest message from the Creator (they call him Allah), they view non-Muslims as outsiders and even infidels who must be subdued, converted, or used. In fact, certain offenses against non-Muslims are allowed in Islamic communities, like lying and stealing.

    2. Fear of new ideas

    The refusal to blend with other cultures also comes from a fear of new ideas. Muslim communities are very traditional and family-oriented. New ideas are rejected in order to protect order and customs that have existed for hundreds of years. Muslim parents will draw away in fear of the western immorality they see in the media corrupting their children. Back in their countries, the governments controlled their media and any immorality was practiced in the dark. Freedom of expression in the West confuses Muslims and they start to believe that most western families follow the immoral values reflected in Hollywood productions.  

    3. Protecting culture
    On a larger scale, Muslim communities as a whole try to stay secluded to one physical region of a city and reject outsiders to “protect” their culture. For example, Dearborn, MI is known for its large Muslim population that sticks to one region of the city. This population is so concentrated that there are business and street signs in Arabic.

    Islamic center of America
    Islamic center of America | Dearborn, MI

    Dearborn Islamic festival tentTent at Dearborn Arab International Festival | Dearborn, MI

    In multi-generational Muslim families, you’ll often find that the parents who came over in the eighties or nineties have remained loyal to the culture they came from, not progressing in their values, customs, or beliefs as time has passed, even if their original country has evolved. For example, even though many Middle Eastern countries have become more modern and inclusive, an immigrant couple who came over during the 1990s will still have the same worldview they had in the nineties as a way to hold onto the life they left behind.

    How can Christians love Muslims who are closed off?

    It is hard to love someone who does not feel safe around you! We cannot control others’ perceptions of us, but there are certain things we can do to show that we are interested in forming a true friendship that would not be a threat to their culture.

    1. Respect their safe spaces

    Find ways to connect with your Muslim neighbor that doesn’t infringe on their safe spaces. For example, seeking them out at their house when you barely know them might feel invasive; instead ask them if you could go on a walk together or get coffee in another part of town, or invite them to your home. This is especially important if you are talking to a younger Muslim who is afraid of their family disapproving of their relationship with a Christian.

    2. Use technology as a buffer

    Use technology to connect with them! Social media can be a great avenue to get to know a Muslim coworker or neighbor, because they can have some control over the intensity and frequency of the relationship. You can also send them articles or sections of the Bible. This gives them freedom to read the sections when they are ready and at their own pace.

    3. Explain your own values 

    To set their mind at ease, make sure you separate yourself and your values from mainstream media. Make it a point to communicate that you hold yourself to a different standard. Share your moral and family values and explain that as a true follower of Christ you disapprove of the immorality in our communities and media and that you are not ashamed to be different. 

    4. Questions show you care

    Spend more time knowing your friend by asking questions and only talk about yourself briefly when they ask you. If you do not make space for them to be themselves and feel comfortable, they will close off from you and retreat back into the comfort of their cultural community.

    Most of all, pray that the Lord brings your Muslim friend out of their comfort zone with curiosity about Him! Be patient with them, because stepping out of an Islamic upbringing or family holds a lot of weight– physical safety is often at risk if a Muslim begins to look for answers outside of their religion.

    Dear Lord, thank you for introducing me to my Muslim neighbor. Please give me the opportunity to grow a healthy relationship with them and to be able to share how much you love them! Amen.

    Muslim communities Muslim communities in America how to reach Muslims in America how to share the Gospel with a Muslim sharing the Good News with a Muslim Islamic communities in America Islamic neighborhoods near me

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