Islamist School Inspector

Ed. We hear all the time that we all believe in the same God (including the Muslim God). Has anyone asked the Muslims if they believe that is true?

London Daily Mail FrontPageMagazine.com October 5, 2006

A hardline Muslim teacher who caused a furore by denouncing pupils for celebrating Christmas has been made a Government schools inspector.

Israr Khan’s Ofsted appointment was described by a former colleague as ‘absolutely astonishing’.

Mr Khan, now headmaster of an Islamic school, launched into his tirade during a concert rehearsal at Washwood Heath Secondary School in Birmingham in 1996 after the choir including around 40 Muslim youngsters, had sung a number of popular Christmas songs, including carols.

He leapt from his seat, yelling: “Who is your God? Why are you saying Jesus and Jesus Christ? God is not your God – it is Allah.”

As children in the audience began booing and clapping, a number of choir members – both white and Asian – walked out, some in tears.

Mr Khan, a maths teacher, was asked to work from home pending an investigation but there was no disciplinary action.

It has been claimed that Washwood Heath school was then a ‘hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism’. Rashid Rauf – the airline terror bomb suspect whose extradition is currently being sought from Pakistan – was a pupil there at that time.

Mr Khan left Washwood Heath a year later to found the independent Islamic Hamd House Preparatory School in Small Heath, Birmingham, where he is headmaster. Earlier this year, he was appointed as a governor of Anderton Park Primary School, in Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

Comments

  1. John D\’Alton says:

    Asking whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God reveals a distinct lack of historical knowledge. St. John Maximus etc defined Islam as a christian heresy not another religion. Orthodox scholars and theologians until the recent Anti-Islamic push consistenlty identified God and Allah as the same One God, although Christians have a clearer understanding. Ask any Christian who speaks Arabic, or read an Antiochian liturgy in Arabic. The word used is “Allah”. The Christian God is Allah/YHWH/God. Actually “Allah” is the Arabic version of “Alaha” which is the Aramaic translation of YHWH used in Aramaic Bibles from the 3rd century. Whereas “God” is derived from a pagan German word. And if you read almost any Muslim book for the past 1400 years they clearly repeat the Kuran’s teaching that Allah is the One True God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc. The arguments that they are different Gods denies historic evidence in an effort to create division and fear of Muslims.

  2. Christopher says:

    John says:

    “St. John Maximus etc defined Islam as a Christian heresy not another religion.”

    can you cite the source text?

    “Orthodox scholars and theologians until the recent Anti-Islamic push consistently identified God and Allah as the same One God, although Christians have a clearer understanding.”

    Well, yes and no. God is God, true. However, it is clear the god of Islam is not God. Too many significant theological differences. As Missourian points out, the god of Islam contains both good and evil. God does not, but His creation does. I think you are spinning things a bit here. Let’s see some citations to these “theologians”…

    “Ask any Christian who speaks Arabic, or read an Antiochian liturgy in Arabic. The word used is “Allah”. The Christian God is Allah/YHWH/God. Actually “Allah” is the Arabic version of “Alaha” which is the Aramaic translation of YHWH used in Aramaic Bibles from the 3rd century. Whereas “God” is derived from a pagan German word.”

    Not sure what the entomology of the word has to do with the real theological differences in this case.

    “And if you read almost any Muslim book for the past 1400 years they clearly repeat the Kuran’s teaching that Allah is the One True God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc. The arguments that they are different Gods denies historic evidence in an effort to create division and fear of Muslims.”

    Just because Islam SAYS Allah is the same God, we as Christians must look at the teachings and theology. Quite the contrary to “denying historic evidence” we appear to be looking below the surface where you are merely taking the Islamic point of view. Our you Christian?

  3. Note 1. Islam might be a Christian heresy given that it arose in areas afflicted with the Arian heresy. On the other hand, given the disparity in the revelations between the prophets and apostles compared to Mohammed, it could also be argued that the god of Mohammed is not the God of Abraham.

    As for the Arabic term for “God” being “Allah”, what difference does that make? Just because Arab Christians and Arab Muslims use the same term does not mean they pray to the same G/god. As for “God” having a German root, it is only necessary to return to the Greek (from which all translations are derived) where God is O Theos.

  4. Jim Holman says:

    Christopher writes: “However, it is clear the god of Islam is not God. Too many significant theological differences.”

    But under that criterion, wouldn’t one also conclude that Jews and Christians worship different gods? Trinity vs. no Trinity is certainly a significant theological difference. I think the same thing might be said about differences in the view of God between certain Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox groups.

    It seems to me the issue is whether people can disagree on the “essential properties” of a thing and still refer to the same thing. For example, some people mistakenly believe that Sherlock Holmes was a real person, while others know that he was a fictional character. But clearly they are referring to the same individual written about in the stories of A. Conan Doyle.

    Religious people know when they are talking about different people. For example, no one is going to claim that Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna were the same person.

    In the case of God Muslims, Jews, and Christians all refer to the supernatural being talked about in the book of Genesis who had specific dealings with Abraham. Beyond that, beliefs about that being significantly diverge. But clearly all three groups refer to the same individual, however much the particular beliefs of any group may be in error.

    That said, from a functional and spiritual point of view, there can be tremendous differences in traditions, worldview, ethics, etc., to the point that, in effect, one could say that these groups really do worship a different God. For example, a conservative Republican and a Rastafarian could both talk about Hailie Selassie, and they would both be talking about the same person. But in another sense, the points of view would be so very different that they might as well be talking about two different people.

  5. Jim wrote,

    “But under that criterion, wouldn’t one also conclude that Jews and Christians worship different gods? Trinity vs. no Trinity is certainly a significant theological difference. I think the same thing might be said about differences in the view of God between certain Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox groups.”

    Yes. The Jews prior to Jesus knew God only as Father. Following the Earthly ministry of Jesus, God was revealed in Three Persons. Those who follow the faith of Judaism after that time have rejected God in His fullness. Their God does not match the Triune God of Christianity.

    The RC and Orthodox concepts of God are very close, but many Protestants are so defective in their understanding of God that they are, in fact, a separate religion rather than some ‘branch’ of Christianity.

    The primary problem with Islam is the pre-modern sense of citizenship. Even Muslim ‘moderates’ end up defining citizenship with religion. Search Muslim ‘moderates’ and their writing, and you will find time and again excuses why the Copts are oppressed or the other religious minorities.

    They are ‘moderates’ because they oppose suicide bombing or the like, but time and again they justify the opporession of Christian minorities by casting full citizenship as identical with being Muslim.

    Jim, that is just plain dangerous. If you import too many of these people who have a weak sense of nationality but a strong sense of religious identity, then we are asking for Dhimmi status. This is not a call to mass murder, but we have to understand the difference in worldview which you clearly know exists.

  6. Notes 4 and 5. We’ve got to tighten this up a bit guys.

    First of all, in Jewish writings, the Son and Spirit (Christian terms) were already recognized in the OT as the ruah and dabar. Put another way, the Trinitarian dimension of the Godhead was already intuited although not codified in any way. Rather, it was recognized in the working of God in the world. Of course, in Jewish thinking the command “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God”, an explic repudiation of the pagan/polytheism of surrounding cultures, is also applied to the Trinity which is easily misconstrued as three Gods (the Christian heresy of Sabellianism).

    Glen, it is not correct to say that the Jews of the OT knew only God the “Father” for this reason: God as Father is only recognized through the Son Jesus Christ. “Father” might be a term of endearment or address I guess (although I don’t see how), but never a term denoting relationship. In fact, in Christian terms, the self-revelation of the Father is always through the Son, with the Spirit revealing the Son (in whom we see the Father). Rather, in Jewish terms God is God, not Father.

    Protestants apart from traditional Lutherans and Anglicans tend to be Nestorian in their understanding of Christ, hence their difficulty in affirming Mary as Theotokos, or the one who gave birth to God.

    Jim writes:

    In the case of God Muslims, Jews, and Christians all refer to the supernatural being talked about in the book of Genesis who had specific dealings with Abraham. Beyond that, beliefs about that being significantly diverge. But clearly all three groups refer to the same individual, however much the particular beliefs of any group may be in error.

    I don’t think there is that great a difference between informed Christians and Jews (and informed means understanding the scriptures, personal opinions don’t matter here) about the character of God up to the Messiah. This is true for certain between informed Orthodox Christians and Jews. I noticed this first while in seminary at interreligious dialogues we used to hold at Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan. Protestant representation was only by liberals and their moral relativism held them back from any substantial contribution in the discussions. They really had almost nothing to say. Roman Catholicism, at that time in New York, was captivated by Marian piety (a John Paul II influence I think) which was certainly foreign to the Jews and considered out on the fringe by the Orthodox. Yet the Orthodox Christians and Conservative (as oppossed to Refomed and Orthodox) Jews saw nearly eye to eye on everything, except of course, the Messiah.

    Of course these were people literate in the Scriptures and history. This was not a crowd who made it up as they went, or assumed that understanding the scriptures was a matter of private opinion. The “diversity” you may except in a group like that didn’t really exist.

  7. In English, the proper name for the supreme being is “God”, while the name used to refer to lesser beings that are worshipped besides the supreme being is “deity”.

    Hence, when Muslims say “There is no God but God” it is incorrect in both semantic and syntax as it should correctly be “There is no deity but God”.

    Allah is certainly not deity of Christians.

    Arabic-speaking Antiochian Orthodox Christians are NOT racially/ethnically Arab but rather racially/ethnically Copts and Syriacs. Their mother tongue used to be Coptic language and Aramaic language but sadly our languages were killed by the Muslim colonisers in a cultural genocide.

    Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and even Iraq were Syriac-speaking countries, while Egypt was Coptic-speaking and Algeria was Punic-speaking. That was before the Islamic invasion, as after the Islamic invasion, the language changed to Arabic, Kurdish, and Turkish.

    Antiochian Orthodox Christians in the Middle East also use Kurdish and Turkish to try to neutralise Arabism or Arab nationalism, which is closely related to Islamism or Muslim nationalism.

  8. John D\’Alton says:

    Replying to Christopher re: reference. I’ve read this many places. One easy place to find it is wiki: Saint Maximus the Confessor…
    ‘His remarks in 634 are very revealing of the nature of the invading Saracen forces, which he describes as being Jewish, providing first-hand corroboration for the thesis of modern historians who have determined that Islam began as a Judeo-Christian sect.

    “What could be more dire than the present evils now encompassing the civilized world? To see a barbarous nation of the desert overrunning another land as if it were their own, to see our civilization laid waste by wild and untamed beasts who have merely the shape of a human form. These “beasts are Jews and followers of Antichrist. Repentance by Christians is what is needed to repulse the invaders.”
    Letter written from Alexandria between 634 and 640. ‘

    John of Damascus also listed Islam as a Christian heresy in his catalogue/book of heresies. Also refered to in many books. This from Wiki:
    “Concerning Heresy” (peri aipeseon) – The last chapter of this part (Chapter 100) deals with the Heresy of the Ishmaelites. Differently from the previous ‘chapters’ on other heresies which are usually only a few lines long, this chapter occupies a few pages in his work. It is one of the first Christian polemical writings against Islam, and the first one written by a Greek Orthodox/Melkite. ”

    Almost every Muslim who becomes a Christian says that they still worship the same God- just more clearly now. That is from many books and many many surveys/interviews. Are they all wrong?

  9. Missourian says:

    Note 8 John D’Alton

    Almost every Muslim who becomes a Christian says that they still worship the same God- just more clearly now. That is from many books and many many surveys/interviews. Are they all wrong?

    Yes, they are all wrong. The number of people who believe an assertion to be true has no bearing on its truth or falsity.

    Words and concepts have meaning even across the centuries. Pope Benedict explained in his recent address the difference between the God worshipped by Christians and the God worshipped by Muslims. A shorthand way of distinguishing the two concepts of God is “Logos vs. Will.” It is possible to describe certain characteristic of the God worshipped by both religions and they are different. This is a matter of objective research into published works of theology by scholars of each religion. Read, compare and make your conclusion. It is not a subjective question, it may be addressed objectively.

    The individual Muslims who converted to Christianity from Islam were individuals who were drawn to search for the true God, the Creator of our universe and the Creator of all mankind. They started their search where they were born: Islam, they continued their search until their found the Truth of Christianity.

    Not the concept of the nature of God has immense implications. Given that an Islamic Empire held sway over waste territories for many hundreds of years, that Empire produced people of genius from time to time. The Muslim civilization has its accomplishments as does every other civilization, however, many individuals that Muslims point to as their great scientists turn out to be dhimmi Christians, Zoroastrians and others. There is a reason for this. Western science presupposes a consistent and constant underlying truth. The natural world is governed by laws and principles. The task is to discover those laws and principles Science is the search for this consistent and underlying truth. Islamic science and civilization was handicapped by their understanding of God. Since God was above all constraints, even self-constraints, what could be true today could be false tommorrow. God retained to power to change everything according to his Will. The Christian God is constrained by His own Goodness and the promises He has made to mankind among other things. This vision of God as possessing an unpredictable and arbitrary nature undercut the efforts of people to find consistent underlying scientific principles that governed nature.

  10. Michael Bauman says:

    St. John of Damascus’ evidence is particularly relevant because he worked in the household of the Caliph.

    What I mean when I say that Muslim’s don’t worship the same god is simply that the way God is described by Muslims gives Him a character and function that is not at all like the God revealed in the Bible. The Muslim description of Allah is much more akin to the capricious pagan dieties than to the I AM of Judeo-Christian revelation.

    When I first converted to Orthodoxy from a syrcretistic Christianity, it was comforting to me to think that I was worshiping the same God I had been. However, as I have matured in the faith, I’ve come to realize that what I was doing before I was received into the Church was worshiping a God of my own making to which I applied the name Jesus. Now, every once in awhile, Jesus and the Holy Spirit would acutally break through the vanity of my own mind and make themselves known. They didn’t do that because I was actually worshipping them. They knew that I wanted to worship them and so took care to lead me to themselves and into true worship.

    God will find the Muslim’s who are really seeking Him, even through the dark shadow called Allah. That is not the same thing as saying Allah is the same God.