Earlier this year, Muslims from overseas took a listening tour of Presbyterian churches. According to a recent news account, the Muslims endured such questions as: Do you wear shoes in your country? Do you ride camels? Do you wash your faces with cow's urine?

Americans have more questions than answers concerning the world's second largest religion. They also have a lot of criticisms. Christians, like many others, are full of anger about the shedding of innocent blood by militant Muslims and are less impressed by Islam than ever. An October ABC News/Beliefnet poll showed that since January 2002 more Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam and believe that Islam does not teach respect. Pollsters also found that white evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to think that Islam encourages violence.

Continued radical Muslim assaults on the innocent contribute to that assessment. Christian reaction has been swift and strong. A year ago, Franklin Graham called Islam "very evil and wicked." On The 700 Club in February, Pat Roberston said Muslims "want to coexist to control, dominate, and if need be, destroy." In June, Jerry Vines told fellow Southern Baptists that Muhammad was a "demon-possessed pedophile." In October, Jerry Falwell told 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon that Muhammad was a terrorist.

Respect For Differences

Though such comments are emotionally comprehendible, they are offensive to Muslims. They are unbalanced, and they omit key parts of the truth. Christian leaders would be better off sticking to all the facts. No one can honestly dispute that a number of Muslim-ruled nations deprive their citizens of basic rights, that some militant Muslims kill their political opponents, that Muhammad was betrothed ...

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