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A Thumbnail Sketch of Islam for Christians
|Islam is the second biggest religion in the world. In 2014 there are 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. Most do not live in the Middle East. There are more than 210 million people in Indonesia who say Allah is God and Muhammad the chief and seal (last) of the prophets; 150 million in India, 170 million in Pakistan. As you can see, far more Muslims live in south- and southeast Asia than in the Middle East. Sub-Saharan Africa contains more than 130 million, with 75 million in Nigeria alone.
How many Muslims live in the United States? It depends on who answers the question. Scholars at City College of New York say 1.1 million, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim organization, claims 6 to 7 million. The best estimate is probably between 1 and 2 million.
The 2007 Pew survey of Muslim Americans found that two-thirds are foreign-born. Among the foreign-born, most had immigrated since 1990. Of the roughly one-third of Muslim Americans who are native-born, the majority were converts and African American.
There are about 1,200 mosques in the United States, which provides further evidence that the numbers are considerably less than reported by CAIR. If there were actually 5 million Muslims in the United States (and CAIR claims more), each mosque would serve nearly 4,200 Muslims. Yet many mosques are storefronts, and the nation’s largest mosque, Dar al-Hijrah near Washington, D.C., has only about 3,000 weekly attendees.
Gerald McDermott, Professor, is a retired Anglican Chair of Divinity at Samford’s Beeson Divinity School. Prior to that, he served as Jordan–Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College and taught for 26 years. He grew up in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, went to a Jesuit high school in New York City, graduated from the University of Chicago (B.A., New Testament and Early Christian Literature). He lived in religious communes for seven years, started and ran a private school for three years, pastored for five years in Iowa, and earned a Ph.D. in religion at the University of Iowa.
Mateen Elass, Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide to the Muslim Holy Book (Zondervan, 2004)
What You Should Know about Islam’s Holy Book How is it like the Bible? How is it different? Why is it important? Muslims believe the Koran exists as a literal book in heaven and was dictated to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is only the length of the New Testament, yet a fifth of the world claims it is the complete revelation of God. To most Americans, though, the Koran remains a mystery.
Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Zondervan, 2014)
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.
Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi’s inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike.
Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart—and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.