by Christine A. Mallouhi
The startling title, Waging Peace on Islam, compelled me to read this most challenging and exciting book. Christine and her family as Christians have lived among Arabic Muslims for twenty-five years. Her husband is the only Christian from his extended Syrian family. They have lived in various Muslim societies for most of their marriage. She loves, understands and respects Muslim culture. Her biblical Christian worldview is obvious as she thoughtfully applies Scripture to difficult areas of Islamic- Christian relationships.
Christine Mallouhi fearlessly grapples with the difficult areas of Islamic vs. Christian misunderstanding. To do this, Christine presents a comprehensive history of the crusades, Palestine history, Muslim worship, and culture. This information is not merely academic. Instead she addresses Christians about "our failures with Islam." She comments that she deals critically with Christian mistakes because we are responsible for ourselves and not for the mistakes of others.
The book bridges the gap of stereotype, fear, and hostility and then offers the reader the possibility of developing a sensitive, gentle servant attitude in sharing life and Christian faith with Muslims.
She presents a clear model of one who winsomely shared Christian faith with Muslims: this sensitive servant was St. Francis. A lesser-known contribution of St. Francis was his radical passion to evangelize the Muslim. He embodied a passionate, non-violent alternative to the crusaders who strove to destroy their Muslim enemies. With Muslims St. Francis followed the "lowly path of love and service."
As a gifted storyteller, the author relates St. Francis' encounter with the sultan, whom the crusaders considered a "savage beast,' though in fact he was wise and well educated. With this sultan, Francis practiced evangelism without intolerance. He is said to have preached the true gospel to the sultan. In the end of the narration, she draws conclusions that show changes in Francis and in those to whom he preached. We, too, should bring the gospel of good news and peace.
This provocative book shatters preconceptions and encourages us to see Muslims as real people with needs and passions like ours. It encourages us by engaging our mind and giving us the spirit to radically change: to wage peace on Islam.