Synopsis from The American Thinker by James M. Arlandson.
This translation of a televised conversation reveals a rare glimpse into the outlook of Muslim scholars who are concerned about Christianity’s growth. The invited guest is Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.
Katani starts off describing the overall problem:
Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.
As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.
From what I have heard from reliable sources, six million may be too low. Reliable accounts say that one hundred thousand Africans convert to Christianity per day, though not all of them come from Islam. Then Katani says Muslims should build schools before mosques, in order to build the worshipper (Muslim) before the building. Why? To stop the the dangerous “Christian missionary octopus”
This happens often! The wealthy Arab builds a mosque for himself or one of his parents of his friend, but my dear sir, building a mosque comes as a second stage. In America, the price of building an Islamic school is 5 million dollars. In Africa, 50 thousand dollars are enough to build a very reasonably sized school. I say this and I take full responsibility for it; building a school comes before building a mosque. Build the worshiper before you build the mosque. Take for example yourself; you go to the mosque five times a day and if you added all that time it would equal an hour or maybe two hours if you include the Friday prayer. However, if I ask you how long you stayed at school, you will reply that you spent years in middle school and years in high school. Likewise the African goes to the mosque, but if we built him a school where he could spend most of his time, and provided specialized educators we could at least stop this dangerous Christian missionary octopus.
Katani states the purpose of his school:
The truth is, the institution that I administer is considered pre-college. As for the subject of attracting and preparing specialized missionaries to bring them from their countries to Libya in order to train them and return them back to their countries, that is done through the Islamic Propagation Organization. This organization has graduated a number of classes, some of whose students had masters and doctorate degrees. These efforts were fruitful in that these graduates were able to attract people from their lands and countries because they spoke the language and understood the customs of the people they were proselytizing. This way, the missionary is not a foreigner to the community he is working with, contrast that to what would happen if I went to the Philippines for example. I can’t speak a single Philippino word; much less invite people to the faith.
By now other Muslim leaders have joined in. Abbas Hamid lives in Holland, and he deplores the un-Islamic way of life:
My brother may Allah reward you. We muslims in Holland suffer a lot when we see issues like this and we really suffer when we see a muslim, as the sheikh said, who spends millions in bars and entertainment while other muslims are lost and cannot find a translation of the Koran. Even their children who are able to learn cannot memorize the Koran, they can’t find a translated Koran or even any translated book. The first thing we must do is mend our selves; the Islamic countries must fix themselves first and then they can look at Africa. May Allah reward you and this issue is interesting.
Later, an Arabic-speaking Christian discusses how Islam must preach peace and love. No one denies, as none of the Muslim scholars do, that a religion has the right to spread his faith (except in hard line Islamic countries), but these leaders seem panicky. They express frustration at Islam’s disorganized efforts to maintain Africa. But this one idea eludes them: Islam itself is the problem because it is a burdensome and harsh religion. This is apparent when one Muslim scholar talks about implementing Shari’ah as if it is self-evident that it benefits society.
The whole conversation is fascinating. We must educate ourselves about Islam, and with the worldwide web, we have unprecedented opportunities.