Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 21 - Islam in Dearborn, Michigan

The Twenty-First Day (Sunday, September 21)

Ford, Muslims and mosques in Dearborn, Michigan

Dearborn is the hometown of Henry Ford and the world headquarters of the Ford Motor Company. Many years ago Muslim immigrants to the United States (US) were drawn to the relatively high-paying jobs associated with the auto industry in the area.

Dearborn, Michigan now has the largest single concentration of Arab Muslims in North America. There are 32,000 Arab Muslims from Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq living in East Dearborn, making up almost 1/3 of the population. In some districts it is common to see store signs and billboards written in Arabic. The Islamic Centre of America in Dearborn, a Shi’a mosque frequented mostly by Lebanese Muslims, is the largest mosque in the US. The Centre’s attractive website has several good photos:

Mosques and Islamic Centres play an important role in the life of American Muslims. They are places of refuge and of rest; places where a Muslim can experience the Islamic community and learn about Islam. Many Muslims feel safer and more relaxed within the centres which are somewhat isolated from outside influences. Dearborn is one of the few places in the US where one can actually hear the call to prayer publicly over a loudspeaker.

There have been a number of efforts to make Christ better known to Muslims in Dearborn. However, many believers say that in general, it can sometimes be even harder to discuss believing in Jesus with Muslims in Dearborn than elsewhere. Muslims in Michigan have a fortress mentality manifested in community pressure to conform to Muslim ideals.

Prayer Starters
* Pray that the Muslims in Dearborn will respond to the Gospel message they have heard (Acts 28:26-28).

* Pray for the Arabic speaking Muslim background believers who live in the area. May they have God’s grace in the Yemeni, Iraqi and Lebanese neighborhoods to start new communities of believers.

* Pray for the new adult male believers in the Messiah to openly profess their faith in the context of their families, as well as in the larger Muslim communities. Their influence and authority in the home and society will pave the way for the Gospel to be heard and obeyed by others.

From Thief to Giver
Ali (not his real name) was a man with a very hard heart. In the past he would ride trains and befriend people. When they fell asleep, he would steal their belongings, jump off the train and sell the things. He tried Islam but it did not change him. When his sister-in-law became a Christian he persecuted her. Later, however, he acknowledged Jesus as Lord and he is now one of the main leaders of the church! The transformation in his life has been nothing less than incredible! He is one of the most humble and loving men we know. This is especially seen in how he cares for his wife and daughters!

Thoughts that disturb …
* Muslims often believe that the Bible has been altered and corrupted. They will deny its authority because they see it as not being authentic.

* Muslims believe the Holy Trinity implies a belief in three gods. Many Muslims believe that the Christian Trinity is made up of the Father, Mary (the virgin) and the Son (Jesus).

* They believe it is blasphemy to affirm the divinity of Jesus and to give Him the title “Son of God”. Many believe this implies that God had sexual relations with Mary and that a son was born physically through the union. (This idea is also unacceptable for Christians.)

HT: 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus

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