While a militant Islamic revival was sending shock waves around the world, African and Arab Christians converged on Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, where they began building evangelistic bridges to nearly 80 million Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa.

About two dozen persons attended the February conference, sponsored by an interdenominational parachurch organization called the Islam in Africa Project (IAP). They came from predominantly Muslim nations like Egypt, strongly Muslim places such as northern Nigeria and Benin, as well as nations with minority Muslim communities, such as Cameroun, Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, and discussed more effective ways to communicate the gospel to African Muslims. Conference delegates, who represented a cross-section of the continent’s Protestant community, reported on current Islamic trends in their own countries and reviewed historic relationships between Muslims and Christians. Conference speakers acknowledged that since the Crusades, Christians have fueled the antagonism of Muslims; they prescribed an evangelism based on “friendship and love,” urging “sympathetic understanding of Muslims, avoiding needless offense.”

Such offense, said Fahim Aziz of Cairo’s Evangelical (Presbyterian) Seminary, often came wrapped in Christian literature which “did not speak objectively of Islam, but attacked and attacked and attacked. The Muslims then adopted the same attitude of attacking Christianity and Christ.”

Egyptian Christians endure frequent hardships because of their faith, said the Cairo theologian.

In contrast, IAP delegate James Sarpei reported eased tensions between Christian and Muslim communities in Ghana. And Nigerian Simeon Yerokun declared, “There is no religious feud between the Muslims and Christians ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.