Islam and the Middle East

IP#345 Dr. David Pinault – The Crucifix on Mecca’s Front Porch on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast

A fascinating conversation with Dr. David Pinault Ph.D. about his book “The Crucifix on Mecca’s Front Porch: A Christian’s Companion for the Study of Islam.”  One of the best books on the subject of Islam, particularly for those who are seeking to understand the religion within the context of the Christian faith.  An outstanding resource and excellent read.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

This book on Islam has an unusual perspective. It argues that a critically minded examination of Islam can help Christians achieve a deeper appreciation of the unique truths of their own faith. It draws on the author’s personal experiences living in Islamic countries and his fieldwork with persecuted Christian-minority communities, especially in Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, and Indonesia. It includes the author’s own original translations of Islamic texts in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, as well as primary-source materials in Latin that were written by Christian participants in the Crusades.

The author focuses on Muslim interactions with the Christian tradition. He examines and takes issue with the misguided approach of Christians like Hans Küng and Muslims like Mustafa Akyol, who in the interests of Christian-Muslim rapprochement, minimize theological differences between the two faiths, especially in the area of Christology. Such attempts at rapprochement, he writes, do a profound disservice to both religions.

Illustrating the Muslim view of Christ with Islamic polemical texts from the eleventh to the twenty-first centuries, the author draws on Hans Urs von Balthasar, and other theologians of kenotic Christology, to show how Islamic condemnations of divine “weakness” and “neediness” can deepen our appreciation of what is most uniquely Christian in our vision of Jesus, as God-made-man, who voluntarily experiences weakness, suffering, and death in solidarity with all human beings.

A book that’s both timely and urgently needed, The Crucifix on Mecca’s Front Porch invites readers to reflect on the stark differences between Christianity and Islam and come to a fresh appreciation of the Christian faith.

 

IP#172 Nigel Cliff – The Last Crusade on Inside the Pages

What a great read and so very timely! Author Nigel Cliff’s fantastic “The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama” is now available in QP.  Nigel chronicles the clash of the Islamic East and the Christian West in a way I that I had not experienced before. Tracing the roots of the Islamic experience and it’s occupation of the Iberian Peninsula helps with the needed background for this story.  Then he takes us on the thrilling adventures of the 28 year Portuguese explorer who set out for the elusive sea-based trade route to the east which would not only allow Christendom to penetrate into the heart of India, but would allow a Crusade to halt the economic grip of the East from crushing the West in Europe.  A contemporary of Christopher Columbus, it seems as though the tale and accomplishments of Vasco da Gama are mostly overshadowed today…but no longer thanks to the work of Nigel Cliff.  A terrific non-fiction historical read that illuminates the events of today.

You can find the book here

 

“A useful addition to a continuing lively discussion of Christianity and Islam, situated both in respect of religions and culture, as well as empires and trade.” (Kirkus )

IP#74 Nonie Darwish – Now They Call Me Infidel on Inside the Pages

“Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror” by Nonie Darwish is one of the most compelling I have ever read. I have read many books about Islam and the Middle East, but not until Nonie Darwish was I able to put the truly human component to that study.  And what I learned was truly eye-opening.  Nonie discusses growing up in the Egypt and the Gaza, as well as Sharia Law, polygamy practices, envy and “the evil eye”, the treatment of women, and what we should watch out for in the future.  Fantastic and courageous book (and life).

Pick up the book here

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