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O England, My Country
06-06-2007, 08:24 PM,
O England, My Country
From today's 'Times'.

After 'Jack', the next most popular boys' name in Britain is Mohammed.

Archdeacon Alexander
06-06-2007, 09:28 PM,
Dear Alexander,

Adds a whole new dimension to the word 'popular', I suppose. Still, when he nips down to get the Chicken Tikka Massala for supper, he'll meet a lot of other chaps with the same name.

Good to see Jack keeping up the good work!


In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
07-06-2007, 09:10 AM,
o england, my country
I would rather have a Mohammed than an Elvis.
Kirk Yacoub
08-06-2007, 03:10 PM,
Dear Kirk,

An interesting point here! Is it better to believe nothing (Elvis) or wrongly (Muhammad)?

In this morning's Times someone commented that at least Muhammad would grow up to know what his name meant - which is true, but if he ever wishes to convert to Christianity, he will know something else too. At least Elvis can do so - and take on a Saint's name when he does!

Just a thought.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
08-06-2007, 08:52 PM,
I'd rather see a few more Shenoudas around.

Archdeacon Alexander
09-06-2007, 10:27 AM,
o england, my country
What's the problem with the popularity of the name Mohammed? It shows that Muslims still take religion, still take God seriously. If the secular whites who somehow believe that they are the proprietors of England (the UK also?) prefer names without religious significance (apparently the most popular boys name in my part of Kent is Josh, and you can bet your life that this has nothing to do with the Biblical Joshua) then blame us Christians, not the Muslims. My parents named me Kirk (not after Kirk Douglas, by the way, he was named after me - I'm older than you think!)
without realising that this is Gaelic for Church. I have an aunt who named all of her nine children after pop stars, including Elvis Presley. Perhaps the most bizarre secular name was given by US rock star Frank Zappa, when he named his daughter Moon-unit, a name she continues, proudly, to use.
Yes, Mohammed is preferably to Elvis... or Moon-unit. But should this awaken fear and trembling? Why be afraid of Islam? We should be more afraid of the so-called 'Born Again' George Bush and his Irreligious Right
backers. It is disturbing how easily people fall into anti-muslim attitudes, because this is falling into a trap craftily laid by Satan.
"Mohammed ibn-Abdullah, Peace be upon him," wrote Bar 'Ebroyo (Bar Hebraeus) one of the greatest of Christian saints in a very positive appraisal of the career and character of the Prophet of Islam.
His Holiness Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, the present Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church has referred to Mohammed as having a "noble character
and sense of justice," emphasising that before all wars Mohammed ordered his troops:"You will find men who have withdrawn into cells, do not disturb them; kill no woman, no child, no old man, and do not cut down a tree"; that prisoners captured by Muslims earned their freedom by each teaching ten children how to read and write.
It is worth remembering that Mohammed declared himself the protector of Christians, issuing a special covenant, copies of which are still housed in some monasteries to this very day. Its final paragraph reads:
"When Christianity has come under the rule of Islam then the Muslims
shall be satisfied to let them pray in their churches and no obstacle
shall stand between them and their inclination to religion. Whoever
violates God's testament, who does the opposite, is disobedient
before God and His Prophet. The Muslims shall be helpful to them,
the Christians, with the restoration of their churches and houses.
None of them is obliged to carry weapons because the Muslims
protect them. Nobody shall offend against this testament until the
day of the Last Judgement and until the end of the world."
His Holiness the Pariarch explains that Muslim oppression of Christians is the result of the tearing up of Mohammed's sacred covenant, and the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church does not blame this oppression for the massive weakening of Christianity in the Middle East over the centuries. The true culprit, he explains, was the chaotic state of the Church after years, decades and centuries of internal squabblings and hatreds.
No matter what horrors are committed by "Islamic militants", we must remember that these are not the actions of the average Muslim, that these atrocities are, in fact contrary to Islam. We must also remember the atrocities committed by Christian against Christian. The Crusaders actually caused more murder and mayhem when they captured Constantinople, than the Ottoman Turks when they took the city.
We want Christian unity, and this will only be achieved by the grace of the Holy Spirit. If we countenance hatred against Muslims, then we make ourselves unworthy of the Holy Spirit. We cannot want unity in Christ in order to attack other religions. We must take as a reprimand Ghandi's words: "We want your Christ, but not your Christianity."
It fills me with joy that the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church has given us all the example of how to behave like a blessed peacemaker, not only
amongst Christians, but between Christians and Muslims as well.
Yes, Mohammed is definitely preferabl e to Elvis... but let us pray for them both.
"A Short Overview of the Common History of the Syrian Church with Islam through the Centuries", the English language version of an address given by His Holiness Ignatios Zakka I Iwas at the Humboldt University in Berlin can be found on:
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Kirk Yacoub
09-06-2007, 08:13 PM,
Dear Kirk,

Thank you for a powerful post - and one needful in these times.

The history of the connection between Islam and Christianity is far more complex, as you say, than the modern caricature has it. After all, St. John Damascene worked for the Sultan and was freer to write than he might have been under an iconoclast ruler.

That is not to excuse, or deny, the crimes committed in the name of Islam; but we have to be mindful that Muslims are not alone in this plight. What the Crusaders did in 1204 in Constantinople was a very great crime. The way in which the Chalcedonians treated the non-Chalcedonians after 451 was hardly an example of Christian behaviour we would want to cite as a model to be followed, either.

The activities of the Catholic and Protestant missionaries in the Middle East in the nineteenth and early twentieth century arguably did as much harm as good, and the way in which both the Copts and the Syriac Church were treated - 'lesser Churches', was not helpful to people whose Christian history went back to Apostolic times; neither has the Allied intervention in Iraq done much to help an equally ancient Christian community.

I am not defending the infamous conduct of some Muslims - the treatment of the Armenians by the Ottomans (intentional or not) was the first holocaust of the twentieth century, but your reminder Kirk, that there are other histories of Christian-Muslim relations, is a good and timely one - for which, thanks.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

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