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Six Million African Muslims Convert to Christianity Each Year

Please note: This topic came up at our bible study last night (February 9, 2011). I am posting it here for anyone interested. Fr. Hans


Originally posted on the Al-Jazeerah website.

Synopsis from The American Thinker by James M. Arlandson.

This translation of a televised conversation reveals a rare glimpse into the outlook of Muslim scholars who are concerned about Christianity’s growth. The invited guest is Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.

Katani starts off describing the overall problem:

Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.

As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.

Katani’s concerns about the growth of Christianity in Africa are not unique. Many Muslim scholars around the world have been grappling with this issue for decades. Some have even published a book on the topic, discussing the reasons behind the rise of Christianity in predominantly Muslim regions and offering possible solutions to counter it. It is clear that the growth of Christianity in Africa is a complex issue, influenced by a variety of social, economic, and political factors. However, the fact that so many people are converting to Christianity every day highlights the importance of understanding the appeal of Christianity and addressing the needs and concerns of those who are leaving Islam for another faith.

From what I have heard from reliable sources, six million may be too low. Reliable accounts say that one hundred thousand Africans convert to Christianity per day, though not all of them come from Islam. Then Katani says Muslims should build schools before mosques, in order to build the worshipper (Muslim) before the building. Why? To stop the the dangerous “Christian missionary octopus”

This happens often! The wealthy Arab builds a mosque for himself or one of his parents of his friend, but my dear sir, building a mosque comes as a second stage. In America, the price of building an Islamic school is 5 million dollars. In Africa, 50 thousand dollars are enough to build a very reasonably sized school. I say this and I take full responsibility for it; building a school comes before building a mosque. Build the worshiper before you build the mosque. Take for example yourself; you go to the mosque five times a day and if you added all that time it would equal an hour or maybe two hours if you include the Friday prayer. However, if I ask you how long you stayed at school, you will reply that you spent years in middle school and years in high school. Likewise the African goes to the mosque, but if we built him a school where he could spend most of his time, and provided specialized educators we could at least stop this dangerous Christian missionary octopus.

Katani states the purpose of his school:

The truth is, the institution that I administer is considered pre-college. As for the subject of attracting and preparing specialized missionaries to bring them from their countries to Libya in order to train them and return them back to their countries, that is done through the Islamic Propagation Organization. This organization has graduated a number of classes, some of whose students had masters and doctorate degrees. These efforts were fruitful in that these graduates were able to attract people from their lands and countries because they spoke the language and understood the customs of the people they were proselytizing. This way, the missionary is not a foreigner to the community he is working with, contrast that to what would happen if I went to the Philippines for example. I can’t speak a single Philippino word; much less invite people to the faith.

By now other Muslim leaders have joined in. Abbas Hamid lives in Holland, and he deplores the un-Islamic way of life:

My brother may Allah reward you. We muslims in Holland suffer a lot when we see issues like this and we really suffer when we see a muslim, as the sheikh said, who spends millions in bars and entertainment while other muslims are lost and cannot find a translation of the Koran. Even their children who are able to learn cannot memorize the Koran, they can’t find a translated Koran or even any translated book. The first thing we must do is mend our selves; the Islamic countries must fix themselves first and then they can look at Africa. May Allah reward you and this issue is interesting.

Later, an Arabic-speaking Christian discusses how Islam must preach peace and love. No one denies, as none of the Muslim scholars do, that a religion has the right to spread his faith (except in hard line Islamic countries), but these leaders seem panicky. They express frustration at Islam’s disorganized efforts to maintain Africa. But this one idea eludes them: Islam itself is the problem because it is a burdensome and harsh religion. This is apparent when one Muslim scholar talks about implementing Shari’ah as if it is self-evident that it benefits society.

The whole conversation is fascinating. We must educate ourselves about Islam, and with the worldwide web, we have unprecedented opportunities.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A transcription of an Al-Jazeerah television interview between Maher Abdallah and Shiekh Ahmed Katani about the six million muslims leaving Islam every year in Africa.

Maher Abdallah

Maher Abdallah

Maher Abdallah: Dear viewers, peace of Allah be upon you, greetings and welcome to a new episode of the program Islamic Law and Life.

Our topic this evening will be Christianization in the Dark Continent … Africa. For after Islam was the religion of the majority, the great majority of that continent, the number of Muslims now is no greater than a third of the population. This is taking into consideration, of course, that a large portion of this group are Arab Muslims. No doubt that the missions of evangelization and Christianization played a great role in this demographic shift of Muslims in the continent.

To discuss this topic, it is my pleasure to introduce today a man who is an expert on the issue of evangelization and Christianization in Africa, even though he will concentrate on the issue of Christianization first and foremost … . Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.

Sheikh Ahmad, welcome to you on the program.

Ahmad Al Katani: Greeting to you.

Maher Abdallah:If we start by inquiring about your strict stance against the Christian missions in Africa, don’t the followers of every religion have the right to seek new converts, exactly as you train and graduate young Muslims to propagate Islam?

Ahmad Al Katani

Ahmad Al Katani

Ahmad Al Katani: I seek refuge in Allah the Seer, the Knower, from the stoned devil. In the name of Allah the Merciful the Beneficent. Thanks to Allah the One, the Only, the Permanent One, who did not give birth nor was born, to whom no one was equal. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah who has no partners, and I bear witness that our master Muhammed — Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him – is his messenger and seal of prophets; Allah prayers be upon him and his brothers the prophets and messengers and their families.

The question that you pose is a result of not comprehending the difference between the concept of Christianization and the concept of evangelism.

The concept of evangelism: is inviting the non-Christians to the Christian or Nazarene religion, and this is the right of every Christian and the right of every believer to call others to his faith. However, we are talking about a different matter; which is Christianization. Christianization means the following: preparing plans, and executing these plans and evolving these plans to change Muslims into Christians by taking advantage of the ignorance and poverty (of the people) and whatever necessitates from similar circumstances.

So, we are faced with the issue of taking advantage of circumstances, taking advantage of humanitarian needs, taking advantage of the lack of education for example, that these people (missionaries) use to take Muslims out of their religion.

Maher Abdallah: Fine. This is a big and dangerous phrase. Taking advantage of poverty, of ignorance, of lack of education, of some need is something that a Muslim can also be accused of. So if you don’t back up what you say with examples, with references, your words remain in the air without much weight to them.

Ahmad Al Katani: The reality is that these words say a lot less than they should. As we said in the beginning, everyone has the right to invite others to his religion; this is what is known as evangelism (or proselytizing). As for Christianization, no one has the right to take Muslims out of their religion, and you asked for references and the references are too numerous.

Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.

As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.

Maher Abdallah (interrupting): Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have 6 million converting from Islam to Christianity or converting from Islam and other religions?

Ahmad Al Katani: Great (question)! The other religions are not placed on the list of Christianization; rather they are placed on the list of evangelization. The other religion in Africa is paganism; so it’s Islam, Christianity or paganism. There isn’t something similar to Asia for example where you have Buddhism or Zoroastrianism. In Africa it is just these three, so if you talk about Christianization then it targets the only other heavenly religion which is Islam. As for paganism, those people worship animals and planets and the like.

Maher Abdallah: So 6 million Muslims a year convert?

Ahmad Al Katani: Every year … In the African nations this century a tragedy happened. Take for example what happened in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is an Arab nation and I am not saying a muslim nation. If any student looks up the word Habasha (Ethiopia) in the book Ocean Dictionary written by Al-Fairuz Abady, he will find that the word Habashat means “people of different tribes” and this is what happened. Ethiopia was a place where Arabs from different tribes would go to live for a while. We all know that Islam entered Ethiopia before Islam entered the city of Medina. We all know that AL-Najashy (the ruler of Ethiopia) was a Muslim. It is mentioned by Al-Darkatny in his biography of the prophet — Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him — that during the month of Rajab in the 9th year of the Hijra (Muslim calendar) that the prophet said to his companions: “Rise up and pray on your brother Al-Najashy.” From that year on the practice of praying on the absent was established. Therefore from the time of the prophet — Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him — Islam entered Ethiopia. So what has happened to Ethiopia?

What happened is that in the days of Emperor Hela Silasi who used to force Muslims to bow to the Christian, and if he refused then he was whipped 45 lashes and jailed between 2 and 5 years. In the year 1948, a massacre occurred at the hands of the Amharic tribes; the Amharic being Christians and collaborators, who continued to slaughter Muslims for 7 months and perform the most horrific acts imaginable. For example they deprived them from the most basic human rights, to the point that they mutilated the male Muslim’s reproductive organs so that no more Muslim children would be born. Ethiopia was rewarded after all these horrific acts; rewarded by being made the head quarters of the African Unity League.

Let us move to another location in Africa, let it be Nigeria. Nigeria is known by Muslims by the name of the Land of Takror. Nigeria was founded at the beginning of the last century by the British, and many Islamic sources mention it’s name as the Land of Tekror. There is even a letter by the reciter Suyuti, who died in the year 911 Hijri, where the title is: Opening the blessed request and relating the hidden openly to the questions of the people of Takror. So there was an established relationship, and they used to send questions to the scholars of Islam, so this letter (of questions) was sent from one of the sheikh scholars of Nigeria that was called Takror to the Muslim scholar AL Suyuti in Egypt and he in turn responded and the contents of this letter are published and printed and is found in the book “The collection Islamic decrees”.

Nigeria’s population is 120 million people, 70% of whom are Muslim. In the 1960’s a British missionary came and declared that he will Christianize North Nigeria, the majority of whom are Muslim. As a result, Ahmad Banulo (from the leaders of the Msulims) was forced at the time to move him to Lagos the capital. As a result the butcher Arorese, that was present at the time, eliminated all the Muslim rulers and killed Ahmad Banulo, why? Because he merely dared to move this missionary who declared that he wishes to Christianize North Nigeria.

In another country, Zanzibar, is an Arabic African nation and I am not saying Muslim. Zanzibar was always connected to the Sultanate of Oman (in the Persian Gulf). Concerning Zanzibar, there was a priest by the name Julius Niriry, president of Tanzania, who annihilated 20,000 Muslims (male and female) with a military force lead by a chicken thief. This thief was imprisoned for being accused of stealing chickens; he was released and asked to command the military brigade that annihilated 20,000 Muslims.

Maher Abdallah: My dear viewers welcome back to this episode where we are speaking about the topic of Christianization in the African continent and we are speaking with the Sheikh who is observing and following this issue, as each hour Islam loses just under 700 Muslims who join the Christian religion which leads us to the number of 6 million Muslims every year.

Our sir, you mentioned that there are advantages being taken of necessities: poverty, ignorance; what you mentioned then are waves of elimination, waves of religious eradication, and there is no need to call is racial eradication … .. However, let us go back to the topic necessity and exploitation. This may have all been in the past; the military expeditions that you spoke of were all in the beginning or middle of the last century, but what is happening today in regards to exploiting necessities?

Ahmad Al Katani: What I wanted to say is that these military expeditions and wars paved the way for what we are seeing today; converting 6 million Muslims every year did not happen from nothing, but was a result of what I mentioned earlier.

As for the topic of necessity exploitation, then a nation like Somalia, whose population is 9.5 million people, are all Muslim without exception. There are no Christians or pagans. And if you did find any then they are an insignificant number that are not even on official statistics. A Belgian missionary by the name of Sabeh came to Somalia and purchased 30,000 Muslim youth, he took advantage of their parents poverty, and we all know the terrible situation that Somalia is going through now and what it went through a few years ago. This is taking advantage of a humanitarian need that any human can go through.

Maher Abdallah: (interrupting) Excuse me, what do you mean purchased?

Ahmad Al Katani: You know that the current laws forbid trading in slaves, but I can’t find another expression to use. The man asked (from the country of Belgium) approximately forty million dollars or slightly less and it (Belgium) hurried in sending the money to him out of fear that this opportunity will be lost. Belgium sent the money in a very short time, and he (the missionary) paid this money to the parents of the youth and I can only call it buying and selling, there is no other name for it. The result was that 30,000 children were made Christian and baptized in the churches. I say this with all regret, but these children are now adults. This event occurred a number of years ago and these youth are now adults and what is more dangerous is that these people will return to their families; some of them have already returned indeed and others will return. This tragedy happened in Somalia, people’s poverty was taken advantage of and this humiliation happened in front of the eyes of on lookers.

Maher Abdallah: Fine! Another picture of taking advantage, this was in consideration of Somalia’s state during war; in the case of a tragedy such as poverty where people were forced to do so due to the circumstances in the area. But what about other regions, how are they doing?

Ahmad Al Katani: Yes. In Zaire there are now half a million muslim refugees, only Muslims are subjugated to severe missions of Christianization. I am sorry to say something and I am not the first to make this point; it has been said before: the bounty of humanitarian aid that is delivered goes to the Christians, and now because of this opportunity the muslims are Christianized in Zaire. There are half a million Muslims targeted for christianiztion on a daily basis. There is a horrific absence of muslim effort in the field. There is no Arabic or muslim (missionary) presence in Africa, except on a token level, nothing productive.

Maher Abdallah: (interrupting) These words are contradictory to what we hear in summits that are held, without mentioning the names of organizations that hold these summits at times specifically to discuss the situation of muslim in Africa, south of the desert.

Ahmad Al Katani: My dear sir, among the plans to Christianize is to leak periodic numbers weekly, monthly and yearly and these statistics works as sedatives in the body of the community. Every now and then we hear in the media, whether television, radio or print that an African family has converted to islam, or members of a family have become Muslim or that a university professor has converted to Islam. These are all tranquilizer shots. For every muslim that converts to Islam, there are thousands that become Christian. We have previously mentioned the number of people that become Christian every year, every day and every hour, all these numbers make people think that matters are fine, that Islam is well, and the truth is the exact opposite.

Maher Abdallah: If you permit, I do know a group of organizations, whose names I don’t want to mention, which reside in Africa and have headquarters in Tanzania.

Ahmad Al Katani: Are they Islamic?

Maher Abdallah: Yes Islamic.

Ahmad Al Katani: All the Arabian organizations specifically work under the humanitarian cloak and not under the missionary envelope and it is very important to notice this difference. There are indeed active groups, such as The Islamic Invitation Organization in Libya as well as the organization headed by sheikh Abdel Rahim in Kuwait.

Maher Abdallah: Abdel Rahman AL Baseet?

Ahmad Al Katani: Abdel Rahman AL Baseet, there are many organizations that are active, there are active institutions, most of whom work under the humanitarian blanket and this humanitarian blanket my dear sir, is a saving scheme for the rich to help those wounded and afflicted with poverty. However, we should be talking about the missionary efforts.

Maher Abdallah: No! Allow me please. I agree with the difference you pointed to, however if there are some taking advantage of people’s hunger and poverty then these organizations fulfill these needs. In an indirect way they become missionary efforts also by preventing people from converting to Christianity.

Ahmad Al Katani: Look sir. Unfortunately, our organizations work in a disorganized method. Have you heard, and I know you have an extensive history in the Islamic field by meeting with scholars, have you heard of a Christian religion that follows Germany or Holland? All have left the work for the Vatican, who has been given the leadership to Christianize. We have a number of Arab countries, each trying to call others to it’s religion and what is happening is that these organizations work independently so if any have done well, it is because of individual effort.

My dear sir, in one year, these Christian missionary organizations collected 194 billion dollars. The national budget of all Arab countries combined don’t equal that number. So what is a single Muslim organization in Libya or Egypt or in Kuwait to do? This type of matter should be planned and done collectively. Take another issue, the Christians and the missionaries in particular take a child from his infancy to a school, and from the school to an academy or from an academy to college. If the child ever gets ill, then there is a hospital that they have prepared for him where Jesus will heal him. They deal with him from childhood to adulthood so he never leaves Christianity. As for us, all that happens is that a Muslim humanitarian organization provides some aid for a while as a result of some catastrophe, and I know tens of people like this who convert to Islam a result of the aid, but when the need is gone they revert back to Christianity or to paganism; meaning we are not organized.

Maher Abdallah: Let me ask you in this regard. I appreciate that the organizations of the civil societies in our part of the world are rather recent, and perhaps they haven’t matured to the point of becoming streamlined, but what about the Arab nations? Some Arab nations boast about the amount of money they spend in the cause of spreading Islam, especially in Africa. Is there a unified official Arab effort? Official meaning on a governmental level?

Ahmad Al Katani: There is, but my dear sir, the issue of Christianization is too large and massive for all Arab societies combined to overcome, let alone a single Arab nation. And even if this Arab spent money for the effort, what will it spend? Add to this the lack of sound planning. So for example, money from donations and religious contributions are gathered and taken to Africa, which does happen, to build a mosque.

My honored sir, you have to build the worshipper before you build the mosque. What should happen is that schools should be built first, which are the primary source of spreading Islam and to protect the Muslim using education not a mosque building. The mosque will come as a secondary stage. This is one of the mistakes that we commit; we are proud of building a mosque for example in Dar Al Salam, but believe me my dear sir, had we used that money to build a school it would have been a lot more beneficial. Build the worshipper before you build the mosque and the prophet — Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him — spent ten years of his ministry without building a mosque, but instead he was preparing men. After the prophet entered the second stage of his ministry he built a mosque.

I will give you an example and proof that would make the Muslim missionary dangle his head with shame. Kenya’s population, for example, is thirty million people, a quarter of whom are Muslim. In all of Kenya, there are 900 mosques compared to 25 thousand churches. Do you see this great difference? Also, half of these mosques, and I am only calling them mosques out of pity, are unusable. They have roofs made out of reeds and the like, whereas you look at the churches and you find great amounts of money spent on them. In these churches they raise orphans while we Muslims are not complaining about the care of orphans because the topic we are discussing is taking advantage of the humanitarian needs to take Muslims out of their religion and into Christianity.

Maher Abdallah: We return to the 6 million Muslims who leave our territory and enter the territory of another religion. From my contacts with the western world, where the Muslim community is not subjected to the same degree of Christian missionary efforts, there seems to be a mindset that dominates the official Muslim organizations and the Muslim missionaries and even the wealthy Muslims that all are seeking to build mosques, but very few feel the importance of other efforts such as opening schools and dedicating missionaries …

Ahmad Al Katani: When it come to the wealthy Arabs and Muslims we are in great shape. We are talking about individual Arabs and I am not talking about entire Arab nations, the wealth of the individual Arabs can be estimated at around 600 billion dollars. So if we assume that these people pay the religious contribution known as Zakat (2.5% of income) that gives us 15 billion dollars annually. I am sure that if this religious contribution was gathered and given to the Muslim missionary groups that know how to work well, then we will not leave a place in Africa for Christians to have any missionary activity. The problem with the wealthy Arab is that he doesn’t direct his effort to the Islamic cause at all, while in Europe all the income that the churches receive is from individual contributions. When it comes to having wealthy Arabs, we are doing fine. However, it seems that these wealthy Arabs don’t care about these issues at all; knowing that a quarter of the religious contributions should go to those whose hearts can be swayed. This was done during the days of the prophets — Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him. However, the rightly guided caliph Omar stopped this practice. When Islam gained a lot of adherents, the caliph Omar stopped spending money on those whose hearts can be swayed. Now in Africa there are rulers of tribes, kings of tribes who have a lot of influence on their followers, so what is stopping us these days from using some of the religious contribution to spend on these types of people over there?

When it comes to the wealthy Arab, he either doesn’t care about these issues at all, or he is concerned about other issues. Are you aware, my dear sir, that a wealthy Arab built a palace in London worth seven million dollars? If this man had given us just one million dollars we would have spent it in the correct manner.

Maher Abdallah: Allow us to focus our discussion on the wealthy Arab who is interested in propagating the Islamic message. There are wealthy Arabs who are occupied with other matters as well; that is their prerogative and a different matter. However, from talking to some Muslim missionaries in Europe and Africa, I get the impression that the would be easy for someone like that to deal with you when it comes to building a mosque. You may have trouble in convincing him to … .

Ahmad Al Katani: This happens often! The wealthy Arab builds a mosque for himself or one of his parents of his friend, but my dear sir, building a mosque comes as a second stage. In America, the price of building an Islamic school is 5 million dollars. In Africa, 50 thousand dollars are enough to build a very reasonably sized school. I say this and I take full responsibility for it; building a school comes before building a mosque. Build the worshiper before you build the mosque. Take for example yourself; you go to the mosque five times a day and if you added all that time it would equal an hour or maybe two hours if you include the Friday prayer. However, if I ask you how long you stayed at school, you will reply that you spent years in middle school and years in high school. Likewise the African goes to the mosque, but if we built him a school where he could spend most of his time, and provided specialized educators we could at least stop this dangerous Christian missionary octopus.

Maher Abdallah: Our Sir, we lose 6 million a year and yet we have another problem. We will return to mechanisms of stopping this hemorrhage, but there is a mind set that controls many who are concerned about the issue of Islam in Africa; that is they try to transfer to Africa the problems of the Arab world, the Islamic concerns in the Arab world which are minor issues. They concentrate on small details like what to look for in certain religious innovations (heresies). For example, you can find a family where three quarters of the members have converted to Christianity, but the concerned Arab muslim will go to the only family member who remained muslim and judge him on some minor Islamic infraction. To what degree is there exaggeration in the previous statement?

Ahmad Al Katani: There was an order given by the honorable Caliph Omar son of Khatab — may Allah be please with him — this order was mentioned by Al-Tabari in his book “History of the Nations and Kings”. This book is actually known by another name which is “History of the Nations and Prophets”. Ibn Kathir also mentioned this order in his book “The Complete” where Omar son of Khatab said:

“I order the Caliph after me to treat the Arabs well, for they are the substance of Islam”

What does this saying mean? It means that the Arabs are the ones who initiate the ideas to the muslim community. If you study the different Islamic sects such as the Mutazalites, the Majerites, the Jaberites, the Materdites or the Shiites, all these sects were initially established by the Arabs and the other muslim communities took these sects from them. This is a very insightful point that the Caliph was aware of that’s why he said that “The Arabs are the substance of Islam.”

What is happening these days is that there are many sects on the playing field now, many groups who disagree between each other and you know this well. I don’t want to delve into this topic because it has become boring and tiresome. In Ghana for example, you know that the African is unable to grow a beard, hair growth on the African face is very light.

Maher Abdallah: As well as the Asian face.

Ahmad Al Katani: Yes as well as the Asian. A beard on an African face is very rare, and if you do find an African able to grow a beard, it would not be dense. Are you aware that there was a battle in Ghana between two mosques over the issue of the beard? (People asking one another) Did he recently start growing a beard or has he shaved it? My dear sir, 90 percent of the people fighting that day were unable to grow a beard. All this is because of us. We transfer our differences to them, from our Arab field to the greater muslim field.

Maher Abdallah: If I asked you a question: you are the president of an institution that graduates muslim missionaries and some of them might concentrate on Africa.

Ahmad Al Katani: If Allah wills it.

Maher Abdallah: You are more aware than I am that the imam who works in Tripoli or Benghazi, located in a muslim Arab country with ties to its Islam, has different needs than an imam working in Africa. For the African person, bread is more important than prayer as well as finding clothing to cover himself. Does your institution or do other groups take this into account when you prepare muslim missionaries to go out and spread Islam in Africa?

Ahmad Al Katani: The truth is, the institution that I administer is considered pre-college. As for the subject of attracting and preparing specialized missionaries to bring them from their countries to Libya in order to train them and return them back to their countries, that is done through the Islamic Propagation Organization. This organization has graduated a number of classes, some of whose students had masters and doctorate degrees. These efforts were fruitful in that these graduates were able to attract people from their lands and countries because they spoke the language and understood the customs of the people they were proselytizing. This way, the missionary is not a foreigner to the community he is working with, contrast that to what would happen if I went to the Philippines for example. I can’t speak a single Philippino word; much less invite people to the faith.

Maher Abdallah: Even the Philippines? Allow me to share with you a story that a muslim Indian missionary, who was fluent in Arabic, told me. He said that during his 9 year stay in Africa in a region I can’t recall, perhaps it was the Ivory Coast, the issue of temporary marriages was problematic because the Africans don’t understand it the same way we do. A woman who fell in love with a man would go live with him without initiating a lawful contract. As a matter of fact, in Ramadan, which is Holy to Allah, the women would go live in the house with the man’s family. When some of the inhabitants of that area returned home after studying in different Arab countries, the first thing they did was wage war on these families using the excuse that these types of relationships (weddings) are not lawful and all children born in such relationships are illegitimate.

The issue of inheritance is also a problem. It is true that some of these missionaries were from that land and learnt islam correctly as it ought to be practiced, but they lost touch as to how Islam is practiced in their land and as a result failed in making a difference. This Indian missionary told me that a group of missionaries went to the Religious Decree Organization in Saudi Arabia and explained the problem to the late Sheikh Ibn Baz. He in turn, decreed that may Allah forgive what has occurred in the past and these relationships should be considered lawful temporary marriages, for this is what the people of that land understand by the term. The woman who entered into such a relationship is limited to that man and as a result this would make their union legal. So you see that even though these missionaries were from that same land they had lost the sensitivity of realizing that this is a real problem in their land.

Ahmad Al Katani: My dear sir, the majority of the companions of the prophet were married prior to Islam and then they converted. We never heard at all, nor read anywhere or learned at all that the prophet — may Allah be please with him — ordered any of the companions to re-perform their marriage ceremony. He accepted them all, knowing full well that their marriages were conducted according to the rituals of the days if ignorance and some of them had up to 10 wives, some of them would marry two sisters. The prophet did not allow more than 4 wives and asked any man married to two sisters to choose between one of them but he kept the marriage as is. As for marriages after the advent of Islam, that is another matter. There are rules and dowries and a guardian, but before Islam the prophet kept things as they were.

Likewise these people that you mentioned my dear sir, we seem to live with a dual mentality. We think that a muslim in Botswana or Congo or the Philippines or Venezuela is the same as a muslim living in Tripoli … and that’s a mistake. There are sensitivities that must be accommodated. I live near a mosque, my father and grandfather are both muslims, but these people live in a different situation and we must understand their circumstances and take that into consideration.

Maher Abdallah: Allow me to go to some of our viewers who have some questions about this topic. We have brother Abdel Hamid Haj Khudur from Germany. Brother Abdel hamid go ahead:

Abdel Hamid Haj Khudur: In the name of Allah most gracious most merciful. Greetings to you Sheikh Ahmed and to you dear brother Maher.

Maher Abdallah: May Allah protect you, go ahead.

Abdel Hamid Haj Khudur: Allah protect you. My dear brother, I am a person who has followed this African issue from the country that I reside in (Germany) and I have attended many conferences that deal with the issue of Africa, I realized something that you mentioned once before which is that the west wants Africa without the Africans. Truly, for 20 years the west has been implementing its vicious policies towards Africa, policies that are oppressive and far reaching; stealing the wealth of Africa and throwing millions of people in the furnace of poverty.

The west prepares missionaries and evangelists and sends them to Africa to transfer the western lifestyle to Africa. The western lifestyle, my dear sir, means infusing immorality among the people spreading many diseases that Africa currently ails from. This has become the greatest concern for Europeans and westerners right now, to the point that they say it in English “Africa is out”, meaning there is no more use for Africa.

So what we need to present to the Africans as true muslims is Islamic law. The Africans are really in need of Islamic law that will save them from the western lifestyle that the westerners have implanted in Africa. However, he who doesn’t own something cannot give it away. We in our own Arab Islamic countries don’t implement Islamic law (Sharia), so how can we say to the Africans, “Here! These Arab Islamic countries have Islamic law that is a rescue for the drowning; a real Islamic way of life.”

This is what I insist on, that before the Muslim Arab countries attempt to proselytize the west, they must first respect their own Islamic law. Thank you and may Allah reward you.

Maher Abdallah: Thank you brother Abdel Hamid. We have brother Abdel Rahaman Al Sheghri from the Emirates. Brother Abdel Rahaman go ahead.

Abdel Rahaman Al Sheghri: Peace be upon you.

Maher Abdallah: And upon you.

Abdel Rahaman Al Sheghri: Brother Maher, it appears that the missionaries have not limited their work to the poor African countries that are in need of aid but spread to all Islamic countries especially the rich ones. This morning we received in the mail an evangelistic letter written in Arabic addressed to one of the government schools in the Emirates, specifically El Sharika. I believe that this letter came from Germany and it requested that we watch one of the satellite channels that was airing a film about the life of Christ in Arabic. It also invited us to write to them and to view some evangelistic internet sites, as well as to listen to Arabic missionary radio stations and to correspond with them either through the internet, fax or mail so that we may receive a copy of the Gospel or audio tapes or books that are all free.

I say all this to show the missionary waves that are directed at all the countries of the Islamic world in all languages. So what have we offered in response to this information. I take this opportunity brother Maher to invite all benevolent organizations to work with the goal of spreading Islam. This does not mean establishing a few embarrassing websites on the internet, but to print pamphlets in all languages, for examples, and send them to all organizations and teaching institutions around the world and prepare muslim missionaries who are prepared to spread the message of Islam around the world.

Finally brother Maher, I heard at one point that you intended to re-broadcast the program “Islamic Law and Life” that was to be translated and until now we haven’t noticed that this project has seen the light of day. I insist that it is an obligation for all satellite channels to air Islamic programs in foreign languages so that Islam can reach every spot on earth. Thank you and Allah reward you.

Maher Abdallah: Thank you brother Abdel Rahman. We have brother Mahmoud Hussain from Iraq. Brother Mahmoud go ahead.

Mahmoud Hussain: Peace upon you.

Maher Abdallah: And upon you.

Mahmoud Hussain: My brother I want to ask the Sheikh, we have muslim girls here in Sweden who work in agencies and these agencies insist that the veil not be worn in their offices. So in this case, does the woman stop working or is it allowed from a legal Islamic point of view?

Maher Abdallah: My brother Mahmoud, we are forced to leave this question because it is away from the topic we are discussing.

If the Sheikh has an abridged answer about unveiled women working we will start with that.

Ahmad Al Katani: There is a religious decree issued from muslim regions that allows a woman living in non –Islamic countries to go to work unveiled so that her sustenance is not cut off and she doesn’t become in need. This is the lesser of two evils.

Maher Abdallah: Alright. We request that all future questions address the heart of the topic which, as you know, is a horrible hemorrhage that the muslim community is suffering from. We realize that this episode and other episodes won’t do the topic justice, so we urge you to concentrate on the topic.

Sheikh Ahmad, your comments of the brother’s question.

Ahmad Al Katani: Abdel Rahman from the Emirates. My dear brother you mentioned that you receive these printed material in El Sharika. I know this very well and frankly the issue of evangelization requires a long time and I suggested to Mr. Abu Usamah that our topic today be about Christianization in Africa. As for Christianization of Arab countries, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia then this will require other episodes. We honestly won’t be able to give all the topics their due time, but consider the following.

You perhaps don’t know that the World Council of Churches declared in a meeting it held in California in 1980 that there were 50,000 Christianized people in Saudi Arabia. Also, there is an organization called (Upper Egypt) …

Maher Abdallah: Upper Egypt?

Ahmad Al Katani: Yes Upper Egypt. This organization has 60 branches to evangelize Egypt. Also, in a country like Mauritania, which is a muslim Arab state whose population of 2.5 million people are all muslim, has a organizations like the American (Delolise) Society, the Global Royal organization, the Carrots organization, the Mauritanian Hope Association, the Population Growth organization, the Evangelical Arab Union, all these are missionary groups in Mauritania. There is no Arab country that is excluded from the list of evangelization. My dear brother, in Malaysia there are 500 evangelizing organizations but I don’t want to leave the topic of Africa so please forgive me brother Abdel Rahamn.

Maher Abdallah: We return to the first question from Abdel Hamid from Germany. Your response to his comment that the west wants Africa without the Africans, which is another issue. Apparently, it is no longer just Christianizing the muslims, rather it is emptying the continent out of Africans.

Ahmad Al Katani: Yes sir. He mentioned two important points; depleting the continent of Africans and it is known that Portugal was the first western nation to enter into Africa in the year 1442 A.D. and took ten black Africans to Europe. This was the birth date of the African slave trade. From that time and until today, one third of the Africans live outside Africa, meaning that if we assume that an African family has nine members then three of them now live outside Africa. Truly, Europe wants Africa without the Africans since they pose a heavy burden. As a matter of fact, there is a professor by the name of Paul Arlitch from the University of Stanford who suggested a while ago that the grain exported to African nations should be mixed with birth control pills in order to empty Africa out of it’s inhabitants.

Maher Abdallah: (Laughing) He has asked another question. He mentioned another point that the evangelist comes to Africa aided with a successful European image, so it is as though he is saying to the Africans “come join us. You have now joined the rest of the world”, whereas there is no grand Islamic image that could be considered attractive.

Ahmad Al Katani: True, True. This is a correct saying and I really don’t have a response. I cannot say more than this.

Maher Abdallah: OK, if we return to our topic; you mentioned that some Africans, and I saw some Africans who would fast and pray with us in Europe, who did not know that fornication is not allowed, or think that if the girlfriend is monogamous then this can be categorized as … .

Ahmad Al Katani: Categorized as allowed.

Maher Abdallah: Categorized as allowed. So this is one issue actually opens another door which is that it is not enough to invite people to Islam but you must educate the muslims with what they must know, what is commonly called “That which is necessarily known in religion.” For example, the issue of fornication should be elementary.

Ahmad Al Katani: My honored sir, with all regret and pain we have failed in creating an upright muslim in the Arab nations. A while ago, the French newspaper “Le figaro” published a very strange and disturbing article which said that a wealthy Arab lost 85 million dollars in one night on the gambling tables and that’s not all. He even gave the waitresses a one million dollar tip.

We did not create an upright muslim. In England there is an association called “Mecca” and I repeat the name “Mecca” that is a gambling house. It has 135 branches all over England and the majority of its customers are Arabs. We did not create a muslim who can be considered a good example in our own Arab lands, so how can we do this in foreign lands? We live in a tragedy my sir, I swear by Allah we are living in a tragedy.

Maher Abdallah: We return to our viewers and we have brother Abbas Hamid from Holland. Brother Abbas go ahead.

Abbas Hamid: Peace be upon you.

Maher Abdallah: And upon you.

Abbas Hamid: My brother my Allah reward you. We muslims in Holland suffer a lot when we see issues like this and we really suffer when we see a muslim, as the sheikh said, who spends millions in bars and entertainment while other muslims are lost and cannot find a translation of the Koran. Even their children who are able to learn cannot memorize the Koran, they can’t find a translated Koran or even any translated book. The first thing we must do is mend our selves; the Islamic countries must fix themselves first and then they can look at Africa. May Allah reward you and this issue is interesting.

Maher Abdallah: Thank you, we have brother Mohammed El Shami from Lebanon. Brother Mohammed go ahead.

Mohammed EL Shami: Peace be upon you.

Maher Abdallah: And upon you.

Mohammed EL Shami: My dear sir, talking about Christianization requires an understanding of Islam and Christianity in a detailed way. There is a huge difference the between Islamic doctrine and Christian doctrine. Islamic doctrine is simple, clear and convincing. Christian doctrine is mysterious, complicated and full of contradiction. So the cause of the problem is the careless attitude on the part of muslims, especially from the governing bodies that are responsible for the welfare of muslims. If it wasn’t for the ignorance of the muslims of their own religion, a complicated doctrine such as Christianity would not have found a place to set foot on Islamic soil. Had it not been for poverty and the condition of the muslims, Christian schools and hospitals would not have flourished. This is primarily the responsibility of the nations to confront the Christian missionary activity, not by giving aid or individual effort or humanitarian relief organizations but by the leadership in the Islamic world who should adopt Islam as a way to live and a path for life. They must teach Islam and invite others to it and prevent Christian missionary activities. One cannot treat a disease by allowing the virus that caused it to remain in the body and spread its poison. Unless we do this, we cannot confront Christianization.

Maher Abdallah: OK thank you very much brother Hamid. We have brother George Khoury from Syria go ahead.

George Khoury: Peace be upon you.

Maher Abdallah: Welcome to you.

George Khoury: I would like to address the reverend Sheikh, he appears to be a learned expert, however I wish the program would have had a Nazarene or Christian person on the show to respond to the Sheikh’s comments. First of all, Christianization of Africa: our Christianity requires us to love and live in peace. At the same time we are required to rescue the overwhelmed, aid the helpless; love and charity are the most important things in our religion. As a Christian living in the Middle East, I have not noticed persecution of Christianity; rather, the persecution is of muslims towards other muslims. As proof of this, the majority of Arab rulers or religious figures or owners of wealth in the Persian Gulf or Arab nations try to establish projects in Europe using their money, or attempt to destroy other political ruling systems and they leave their Islam. This opposes the law, even Islamic law. So I request from the honorable sheikh that first thing he does is prepare muslim religious leaders and sons of the muslim community who will spread love and peace. I only see the murderous Muslim Brotherhood groups, the terrorists and the like who contradict the Islamic religion in the Middle East.

The prophet commanded brotherly love and asked people to take care of the seventh and even the fortieth neighbor. He even said if you were grilling a chicken on the coals and you neighbor smelt its aroma, then you have harmed him (by making him hungry). As muslims, you must give half of this food to your neighbor, but with all regret, I haven’t noticed this in the Middle East.

Maher Abdallah: Thank you brother George. I am sure that the Sheikh will answer you.

Ahmad Al Katani: Allow me to answer him.

Maher Abdallah: Yes. Go ahead.

Ahmad Al Katani: George, to start off I would like to thank you for your etiquette and your pleasant manner that you spoke with. Secondly, I don’t blame the Christians and I personally have many Christian friends; I respect them and they respect me and I would like to add you to that list if you don’t mind. Thirdly, I have not talked and Allah willing, I will not talk about Christianity as a religion. I am talking about Christianization, which is taking muslims out of Islam by taking advantage of certain circumstances and making them Christian. As for your saying that the Middle East is bloody with murder committed by the Muslim brotherhood, and you can even say that “The Part of Allah — Hezbolla” commits these acts, I know all what is said, this is not true.

This type of talk, if you don’t mind me saying, is simply untrue. Please allow me to say this and accept what I am about to say, that there isn’t in the world anyone who sheds more blood than the Christians. You are an exception; you and pure people like yourself. For example, you are aware that mixed marriages between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox are not conducted. Can there be any more separation than this? You also know what happened when the French Catholics annihilated thousands of Protestants. You also know that John F. Kennedy, the only Catholic to be elected a U.S. President was assassinated because he was a Catholic. You are also aware that Nicaragua, which is a Catholic Christian nation, executed six missionary monks even though the Pope was intending to visit that country and he did visit it. You are also aware that in Ireland today battles are waged everyday, killing every day, to the point that even children are killing children between Catholics and Protestants.

Maher Abdallah: Alright our Sheikh, allow me …

Ahmad Al Katani: Please let me finish brother Maher; may Allah bless you. The honored sir also knows that a Catholic does not pray inside an Orthodox Church or a Protestant church. My dear sir, Time magazine reported in December of 1982 that 126 Protestant missionaries were killed in Colombia, which is a Catholic nation. It also closed 279 schools and 60 Protestant churches in South America.

My dear sir, we muslims don’t have such things, we don’t have it at all. However, you are an exception. I know who I am addressing this to, not to you or to pure gentle people like yourself.

Maher Abdallah: Allow me to return to another part of what George said, because he mentioned another side relating to the approach we use in inviting others to Islam. But first let us take some more calls … . Brother Uthman Naser go ahead

Uthman Naser: Peace to you. I thank the AL Jazeera network for giving the opportunity to air an enlightening programs like this, so that a muslim can be made aware (of these issues). This is in line with what the prophet said, “He who is not concerned with the welfare of the muslims is not one of them.” I would also like to thank the honored sheikh and you brother Maher.

We know that the Christians all over the world permeate poison into everything that is good and they do not hesitate to develop diabolical plans against the muslims. My question in short is this: Did the Pope’s recent visit (to the Middle East) have anything to do with the Christianization missions or was it, as we heard, a visit to help the Arab and muslim needs, considering that the Pope visited the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Or was this a preparation for future plans.

Maher Abdallah: Alright. Thank you very much brother Uthman. We have with us brother Awad Ahmed Ashra from Doha.

Awad Ahmed Ashra: Peace upon you. First of all, dear host and guest I want to thank AL Jazeera for its attention to the Islamic causes and for its effective role in making people aware of issues that are important to muslims. Secondly, there is no doubt that the World Council of Churches is currently proselytizing and Christianizing the muslims in all parts of Africa. Their budget last year was over two million dollars …

Ahmad Al Katani: Not two million my sir! Not two million.

Awad Ahmed Ashra: (Sorry) two billion, two billion. It seems that this massive amount of money is spent on Islamic countries, especially Somalia, under the guise of humanitarian relief organizations. There are over 21 similar organizations such as “Welfshine” and “Convine” and many others. They have started broadcasting Bible programming from two radio stations with the intention of proselytizing and evangelizing. One station broadcasts in the Somali language from Kenya and the other from Shesham. It seems that in most of these nations Islam had spread first so the missionary groups moved in and replaced Islam. All these lands, including Kenya, use the Swahili language, 70% of which is Arabic. Islam even reached Mozambique. As a matter of fact, the grandfather of that republic’s first president was a muslim, who later became an apostate and left Islam. Most of Africa was divided according to the Berlin Accord of 1884 A.D. and the west has been using missionary activities as the first step for entering into Africa. Ever since then, the missionary and Christianization activities have been progressing hand and foot into Africa.

Maher Abdallah: Sir! Do you have a question for the sheikh?

Awad Ahmed Ashra: My first question is: why are the Islamic groups falling short in their efforts to spread Islam in nations that fall under Islamic control such as Somalia, Bangladesh and Indonesia? In these areas where conflict and war exist, Christianization runs rampant. This is a result of the plans that the World Council of Churches has placed; one example of such plan would be the translation of the Torah into the Somali language. You also see a similar thing in Canada and many other countries, where there are 4 million copies of religious magazines issued; one for each person if they wish. So why are muslims, who have the power and human effort, unable to accomplish a similar task?

Maher Abdallah: Thank you very much brother Awad. I believe your question — Allah willing — is very clear and the honored sheikh will answer you. However, allow me first to return to return to the question that Mr. George asked. Sheikh Ahmed, you answered a part of his question but there is another part. He mentioned the part about muslims persecuting other muslims and the lack of the spirit of love and peace from the call to Islam. Is this an essential trait for the success of the missionary?

Ahmad Al Katani: I think what you are saying is not accurate. First of all, love is one of the essential foundations of the Islamic call, as well as that of the Christian. What we witness today in terms of turmoil, well this happens in all places and all times and it has nothing today with religion. If two people hate or fight each other, then that has nothing to do with Islam.

Maher Abdallah: (interrupting) Allow me! My personal experience with inviting others to Islam is that 90% of the time this type of work requires people to sacrifice, requires people to understand Islam, though Allah is merciful and forgiving. This is what is missing in Islamic dialogue and I believe this is what George was alluding to.

Ahmad Al Katani: By Allah, George is correct and I am with him on this. The Islamic groups that we have today, and please forgive me for what I am about to say and I take full responsibility for it, I fear that there are treacherous hands controlling the decisions of the Islamic groups. I don’t consider myself an expert on these groups, but according to what I know, these people have concentrated on the outer garment but have abandoned the person inside the garment. They have problems, rivalries, envy and opposition to each other; each one of these groups is accusing the other of apostatizing. They have fought and left the truth. Instead of all this, plans should be established by the Islamic organizations to start the humanitarian work of propagating the Islamic faith, the religion of Allah, and to teach the people and make them understand. Honestly, I put my voice beside George’s on this issue and I say to him, “You are correct.” There are many warring groups who are envious of each other and who exchange insults and accusations of apostasy without just cause. I raise my voice with his.

Maher Abdallah: Alright! If we return to Mohammed Al Shami’s question that a person needs to understand the religion very precisely and at the end of his question he said that it is the responsibility of the nations first and foremost and not the responsibility of individual groups and organizations. Do you agree with him?

Ahmad Al Katani: Brother Mohammed Alshami, let me relate to you an incident that occurred on 9/12/1999 before the year had ended. A Christian priest, and I also say this to brother George that a Christian priest by the name of Fernando Cotinu came forward in Congo. As you know, the Congo is really two nations; Democratic Congo whose capital is Kinshasa and the other is the Republic of Congo who capital is Brasfil. The priest appeared on a television station called M.V.T.R and took the Koran along with some of other Islamic books and burnt them on the air and stomped on them then proceeded to say words in French that I cannot repeat. After this, we did not hear about an Arab or Islamic nation who withdrew its ambassador or closed its embassy (in teh Congo) or even cared about this incident. The truth is, there is an unusual apathy when it comes to getting Arab nations involved with these issues. By Allah, I am with you.

Maher Abdallah: How about the brother’s question regarding the Pope’s visit, does it have anything to do with Christianization efforts that are occurring in Africa? Or is it simply a spiritual trip for a spiritual leader who has faithful in the area?

Ahmad Al Katani: Dear Abu Usamah and to the inquirer Uthman I say the following: the Pope does not make a move unless it have been studies very, very carefully. In 1982, the Pope declared in an area called Campo Steel in Spain that it was time to re-evangelize the world. Of course, re-evangelizing the world means evangelizing the muslims. You may ask: what does Campo Steel mean and where is Campo Steel? Campo Steel is the last point that the Islamic forces reached in Andalusia (muslim Spain). So the Pope stood in that location and declared that he will initiate the plans to reverse (this Islamic expansion). So don’t expect that the Pope’s plans are purely religious as he claims.

Now we come to his latest visit, which by the way, is not his first trip to the region. In 1985, the Pope visited Morocco and officiated a Mass there. In 1993 he visited the Sudan where a 12 meter (30 ft) tall cross was erected for him in the green meadows in the presence of president Al-Bashir and Hasan Turabi, whose Islamic tendencies we know well. And now we come to his latest visit, what has happened?

The Pope declared that his trip would be a religious trip, a pilgrimage, and we believed it. But what happened was that when he came to Palestine, to mount Nibo specifically, he left the cities and villages that Christ had once walked through and headed to Mount Nibo. (The story of) Mount Nibo is a legend that was invented by a German Jewish woman. After Mount Nibo he headed for the eternal flame that commemorates the Jewish lives lost under the Nazi regime in Germany. So where is the Christian pilgrimage there? He stood in front of this flame in reverence and solemnly. After that he went to the Wall of Buraq, which the Jews call the Wailing Wall. This has nothing to do with Christianity what so ever. He stood in front of this wall in reverence and solemnly and he placed a note in one of the cracks in this wall where he wrote an apology to the Jews for what the Christians had done to them in the past. So this trip had nothing to do with a Christian pilgrimage in any way as he claimed. Rather, it was in preparation of plans that we are well aware of.

We come to your statement that the Pope visited the Aqsa Mosque which can be considered as a type of admission that the Arabs and Moslems have rights over there. I was very surprised when other Arabic satellite stations were stating that the Pope’s visit to the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was to encourage and support the Arabs in their struggle for rights in Jerusalem.

My dear sir, if you wanted to use this kind of logic, then don’t speak with one jaw, use both jaws (meaning look at both sides of the issue). Take into consideration the Pope’s visit to Nazareth accompanied by high ranking Israeli officials. This is an admission on his part that Jews have rights in Nazareth. But the Arab media concealed his trip to Nazareth and concentrated on his trip to the Aqsa Mosque. Another issue to consider is that before the Pope visited Israel, he apologized both verbally and in writing to the Jews. For the first time in history he apologizes to the Jews, the very people who say that Jesus is an infidel and an apostate — we seek refuge from Allah form such blasphemy. The Jews also talk about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and describe her as an adulteress. Mary is mentioned in our Koran with the following words, “And the angels said O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you from among the women of the world”. With all this, when the Pope decided to come to Palestine, none of the high ranking rabbis were present to receive him, they (the Jews) also broke the runway on which his plane was to land, they wrote signs expressing their rejection of his visit and they even held prayers in which they damned and cursed him.

Now we come to the Arabic front, for we are as the poet (Abu Firas Al-Hamadani) said:

We are a people who don’t know moderation … . We take everything now, forgetting the world to come and the grave.

We all love and we all hate, but despite all this the rabbis refused to visit him. We, as Arabs, have not heard that any Arab nation refused to welcome the Pope. The enthusiasm even reached the point where a high ranking Arab official – who shall remain nameless — kissed the Pope’s hand.

Maher Abdallah: Alright … Let us return to our viewers, we have a number of people on the lines. Brother Ahmed Kalul in Britain go ahead.

Ahmed Kalul: Peace be upon you and a greeting to the Al Jazeera channel. Let me make a quick comment concerning the Christianization operations. I wish that we make a distinction between the Church in the Vatican that evangelizes and the common Christians, specifically the Arab Christians, whose history and situation inside the Islamic world is distinct from the church that was connected with the imperial Roman power. This is the same church that allied itself in recent times with occupational nations (forces). The droves of Christian missionaries would be the first troops who precede the invasion forces. This means that the missionaries were similar to look-out scouts who would come in and prepare that land by building roads for the invaders to use, and there are many documents that prove these actions such as the French invasions. Also, with regards to the Christianization of Africa, and here I will mention North Africa, the Church believes that these lands were forcibly taken away from it by muslims and that it has succeeded in returning Andalusia (Southern Spain) to the Church’s fold. They (the Church and the west) have also tried to occupy Tunisia for forty years, for example, and the horse’s hooves trampled on the Koran and other Islamic books among many other acts. When the French occupation entered these lands, the French considered it the ninth crusade.

Maher Abdallah: (interrupting) Brother Ahmed, we have a number of calls so please be brief. Brother Usamah Abu Korah from Jordan go ahead.

Usamah Abu Korak: Peace be upon you.

Maher Abdallah: And upon you.

Usamah Abu Korak: Mr. Maher and Sheikh Al-Katani, we thank the sheikh for his work as an intellectual warrior … my question is: Doesn’t the honorable sheikh feel that the best solution to this problem would be to invade these people in their land, by concentrating on the propagation of Islam in Europe and America? I don’t know what the sheikh’s efforts are in Africa, but what does he think about this idea; to concentrate on their countries and propagate the message (of Islam)? Thank you very much and peace unto you.

Maher Abdallah: Thank you. We have brother Munthir Abd Allah and I urge you to be brief, go ahead.

Munthir Abd Allah: Peace be unto you. Brother Maher and the honored guest, Imam Ghazali said, “Islam is the foundation and the king is its guardian. That which does not have a foundation is ruined, and that which does not have a guardian is lost”. The prophet — Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him — said, “The Imam has been made a paradise, behind whom the people fight and also take refuge in”. Ever since the Islamic caliphate, which represented the political body enforcing Islam and uniting muslims, fell in 1924 the muslim have been regressing. Muslims must expect additional defeats, fiascoes and pains in all fields; educational, intellectual, theological, military and political. If they don’t treat the problem from its roots, they will not be able to solve the problem on an individual level using the donations of a wealthy person to build a mosque or a school. The solution will not be on that level, rather it will be, as the brother from Lebanon stated, by giving the muslims a body that personifies Islam, by applying …

Maher Abdallah: (interrupting) Brother Munthir… thank you very much for this comment, we believe it to be an important question and if Allah wills, you will hear the sheikh’s response to it. Sheikh Ahmad, if we return to the first question that brother Ahmad Kalul posed; I suppose that he was very logical in his appeal and wish for you to differentiate between the church as an organization and ordinary Christians, especially those who live among us. Do you see a need for this distinction?

Ahmad Al Katani: I believe I said at the beginning of this program that we are talking about Christianization, and Christianization is only performed by the Church. As for individual Christians, especially Arab Christians, I will relate an incident to you that occurred during the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt. There is a book titled “The Lesson regarding the news of Egypt and Cairo” written by Imam Suwuti, who died in the year 911 Hijra so about 5 or 6 centuries ago. The Fatimid caliph had two ministers, one a Christian by the name of “Isa son of Nestor” and the other was a Jew by the name of “Misha”. I am mentioning this story to show the strong bonds that we have with our Christian brothers, for we lived in the same land, fought the same enemy, lived the same life and ate the same food. So there is no difference between us and them and this show the strength of the old bonds.

As I was saying the Fatimid Caliph has had two ministers, Isa son of Nestor who was a Christian and Misha who was a Jew. This resulted in the first minister looking after the affairs of the Christians and the second looking after the affairs of the Jews and they both neglected the affairs of the muslims. So a muslim women wrote a letter to the caliph saying, “To him who honored the Christians with Isa son of Nestor and honored the Jews with Mesha and humiliated the muslims with you O caliph. You have not resolved my problem”.

Observe how many centuries where our history was one. The truth is that this talk is addressing the issue of Christianization and not to individual Christians living in the Arab or non Arab lands. On the contrary, many of them are honorable men, warriors, scientists and people that we would be proud of.

Maher Abdallah: Our sheikh, brother Ahmad has asked a second question: Do you believe that evangelization comes before Christianization or are they both precursors to occupation? Occupation of a continent by a western power who, in the end, describes itself a Christian force.

Ahmad Al Katani: My dear sir! Putting aside Christianization for a moment, evangelism today is mixed with politics and economics. For example, a person who converts to Catholicism will speak Spanish and his area will be targeted for investment by Spanish speaking companies. Likewise, he who converts to Protestantism will speak the English language and thus his area will be subjected to the Protestant economic and social activity that belongs to America and England. Today, politics has blended with economy which has blended with religion. So yes, occupation has blended with evangelism. Take a country like Libya for example; it was subjected to horrific evangelization and Christianization efforts during the Italian occupation as well as the reign of Karman, Uthman I and Uthman II.

Brother Usamah Abu Kura also mentioned the idea of invading Europe with Islam. Mr. Usamah, don’t believe all that is said and published, and let’s take America for example. Islam has been in a country like America for 125 years, so do you know how many muslims are in America now? 7 million people and yet we lose 6 million muslims every year in Africa. So the picture is not as pretty as some media sources like to present. The truth is that the picture is very depressing and I fear that one day we may be overshadowed by a great darkness where we do not find Islam in Africa or anywhere else.

Maher Abdallah: To be fair to brother Usamah, he didn’t mention anything about a pretty picture; he merely suggested that part of the solution might not only be to stop the bleeding but to also invade, using his word, Europe and America with the call to Islam.

Ahmad Al Katani: The issue is not as easy as we imagine. This issue requires planning, investigation and groups that will adopt this effort. Over 90% of muslims live below the poverty line. Holland is a country that we barely hear about in the news or in print while Indonesia, the largest Islamic country on the face of the earth, is 70 times larger than the square footage of Holland. All Islamic countries put together are 50 times larger than Indonesia and yet the difference in capital income between Holland and all Islamic countries put together is 15 million. The picture is not as people imagine.

Maher Abdallah: Since you mentioned this topic, I will postpone brother Munthir’s question till we answer the following: since you mentioned Holland and Indonesia and the size of the force and effort, in brief, how do you assess the force of the missionary effort as it stands today in Africa?

Ahmad Al Katani: It is a massive force. The might of the Christianization effort is truly great. When the second Vatican council announced in 1962 that the 80’s would be the decade that communism would be vanquished, they succeeded. In the same counsel, they declared that year 2000 would be the year Islam is wiped out of Africa; I say this with all regret that they succeeded. I will answer your question by citing what was mentioned in the International Bulletin Missionary Researches magazine, which specializes in researching missionary activities. This magazine published the following in 1996:

  • Number of missionary organizations: 23,300
  • Monetary donations collected in 1996: $196 million
  • Number of organizations that send missionaries to foreign countries: 4,500
  • Number of missionaries who work inside their own countries: 4,635,500
  • Number of Bibles distributed in one year: 750,000
  • Number of missionary magazine and pamphlet’s: 3,100
  • Number of computers owned by missionary organizations: 20,696,100
  • Number of times the name “Jesus Christ” appeared as a missionary message not just a religious one: 1,500; that’s an average of 4 times a day.
  • Money spent on missionary activity in 1997: $200 billion
  • Number of schools and institutions administered by churches: 104,000
  • Number of muslim students in these schools: 6 million
  • Number colleges administered by churches: 500
  • Number seminaries administered by churches graduating missionaries: 490
  • Number of Christian kindergarten schools: 10,677
  • Number of Church sponsored pharmacies: 1,050
  • Number of Church sponsored radio and TV stations: 3,600 that transmit a total of 447 million hours of missionary programming a year

This is the power we are dealing with; a massive marching army.

Maher Abdallah: What is the muslims capability in comparison?

Ahmad Al Katani: The muslims’ capability is non existent to be honest. That is why is was not surprising to hear Robert Marks, a very famous missionary from the USA, say that evangelizing muslims will not stop until the Cross is raised in the skies of Mecca and the Sunday mass is conducted in the city of Medina. This will happen if the current trend continues and Arab muslims deliberately close of their ears and the eyes. I fear that it will happen and the Arabs will have to face the historical consequences just as their forefathers did towards Islam. The picture is very dark and people should not listen to other opinions that say otherwise, for that would only be done to fool people’s minds.

Maher Abdallah: Let us hear brother Muhammad Rashid from Saudi Arabia. Brother Muhammad go ahead.

Muhammad Rashid: Peace be upon you. I hope you are well. Sheikh Ahmad, by Allah we have watched a lot of debates on television and we hear a lot of criticism of Christians and muslims but the Might and Exalted (Allah) says in his glorious book (the Koran), “Allah does not change in a community until they change what is in themselves,” a blessed verse found in sura “Say O you infidels.” At the end of this sura Allah says, “You have your religion and I have my religion.” Of course the world is filled with Christianity, communism, Judaism and Islam, so instead of concentrating on Christianization only why don’t we concentrate on Islam and spreading the Islamic message in pleasant way. Christianity tries to collect money to evangelize and we can’t combat evangelization before we try, as much as possible, to propagate Islam on a larger scale, with greater funds. Of course here in the Arab world there exists Christianity, communism and the Islamic religion and we don’t want to create chaos in all these countries by concentrating on Christianity only. Our muslim leaders should educate us with better Islamic teachings so that we may live in a forgiving environment and can concentrate of nationalism only in these countries. Thus we can consider this person as a citizen with a religion and the muslim is also a citizen with a religion. Thank you.

Maher Abdallah: Thanks you very much. Brother Abdel Rahaman Saleh from Syria go ahead.

Abdel Rahaman Saleh:
Peace be upon you. By Allah brother Maher a person doesn’t know where to start or what to talk about. Sheikh Ahmad you addressed the Christian by calling him brother, by Allah the Lord of the worlds who said, “But the believers are brothers,” this is one thing … .

Ahmad Al Katani: (interrupting)
He is your brother in humanity my sir, a brother in humanity. You are a brother to him in humanity and humanity is a domain that encompasses us all.

Abdel Rahaman Saleh:
Allah the exalted has forbidden us from that my dear brother …

Ahmad Al Katani: (interrupting)
He did not forbid you from, show me where he forbade you.

Abdel Rahaman Saleh:
The only solution to this problem is what our brother Munthir Abd Allah from Denmark suggested, which is the return of the Islamic caliphate. What Muamar Qadafi did by killing the youth of the Liberation party …

Maher Abdallah: No brother Abdel Rahman, may Allah keep you. This talk is not our topic, please concentrate on the issue.

Abdel Rahaman Saleh:
This is the heart of the issue! What is the divine legal solution to this issue that Allah has prescribed on the community that believes in ‘No god but Allah’?

Maher Abdallah: I will ask the question that brother Munthir posed, and I believe it is an important question, as I have stated earlier. We will conclude with an important point, and it is my impression that this gentleman believes this is the effective solution. Sir, if this is your question then I thank you for your comment and Allah willing we will hear the sheikh’s response to the question. We have with us brother Ibrahim Siam from Palestine.

Ibrahim Siam:
Peace be upon you. May Allah bless you exceedingly. The truth is that our prophet said, “The message of Islam will come to people just as day and night arrive to them, and Allah will cause this religion to enter every house whether with great honor or humbling humiliation. With honor that Allah will honor Islam and humiliation to humiliate the infidels.” Our master Uthman son of Afan ( the 3rd Caliph) said,

“Allah will plant by the Sultan what is not planted by the Koran.”

The muslim’s most severe issue at this time is how to establish an Islamic nation. For it is only an Islamic nation that can protect the muslims, it is also the one that will open up countries and establish justice in the world, so that the world will rejoice because of Islamic justice and because of the greatness, power, influence and truthfulness of Islam. How we sorely need every muslim around the world to understand the need for the establishment of the Islamic nation these days; for the Islamic nation will save humanity from infidelity (to Allah), atheism, oppression, aggression, death, exile and degradation. That is why the protection of muslims and all nations around the world can only occur by implementing the Islamic way (of life) and this won’t happen unless except under the shadows of an Islamic state. I hope you are listening to me brother Maher because this is very important and I swear by judgment day that this is the truth …

Maher Abdallah: Allow me brother Ibrahim! Your question is the same as brother Munthir’s question and we only have two minutes left and you will hear the answer from the sheikh. Reverend sheikh, please limit you answer to address the issue that the last three callers brought up; namely, the solution to this problem and many others, such as protecting the muslims, to use a pleasant phrase that brother Munthir gave that:

“Faith is a foundation and the Caliphate is its protector. Without the foundation, the Islamic building will collapse and without the protector, Islam will be lost.”

Ahmad Al Katani: My dear sir, with all due respect to Mr. Ibrahim, Mr. Munthir and Mr. Abdel Rahman, who said the same thing, I am speaking reality; about 6 million drifting away from Islam towards Christianity. These gentlemen are talking about an issue that is out of my hands as well as theirs. Do I or you have the ability to place or remove a caliph? Let go of these fantasies that these people are living in, they are hindering the resolution to muslim problems. What shall we do, shall we stop paying attention to Christianization? Shall we stop calling people to Allah religion (Islam)? Shall be turn a blind eye to what is happening to the state of muslims? Shall we wait until one of these people is kind enough to establish the caliphate? Shall we place one leg over the other and wait until the caliph comes and unites muslims once again? We are talking about reality not something that is in the realm of the unknown. Neither I nor he has power to establish or abolish a caliph, se we have to deal with reality that exists. Live with what you have not what you wish you had.

Maher Abdallah: What you said makes sense and it is more realistic. However, at least in theory do you feel that the idea (of the caliphate) will be effective?

Ahmad Al Katani: If it was established via legitimate channels, then yes. I am against people crying out for the caliphate then turning the sword on each other, as we have seen in a number of Islamic countries. If the caliphate was established by legal means, by elections and by legitimate channels then this is welcomed. However, if it is established illegally and with the threat of the sword, as we have seen in a number of Islamic countries where muslims slaughter muslims and the young and old are killed as has happened in Afghanistan, then this idea is rejected. If it (the caliphate) is established through the official channels, then it is welcomed.

Maher Abdallah: Alright. I would like to ask you a question, but please be very brief in your answer so that we may conclude with one final question. Do you see any hindrances or obstacles obstructing the effort trying to stop evangelization or Christianization specifically?

Ahmad Al Katani: Of course, there are many. First of all, the political systems in Africa, like Eritrea for example, do not allow you to bring in foreign aid unless you hand it over to the government. The government does not give this aid, consisting of books, blankets and food, to the needy muslims, rather it gives it to the military. These political systems are one of the obstacles. The second issue is the ignorance of the philanthropist muslim individuals and countries of the need to propagate Islam. That is why I say we must concentrate on education and everything after that will follow.

Maher Abdallah: So we understand that from a general political point of view, we must establish the nation first and we must concentrate our efforts on the Islamic world and leave these minor quarrels we find here and there. We are no longer just referring to the people who called in but to many Islamic groups who believe that the goal is to rule the state, whether done legally or illegally? Is this the successful solution? Or does the mind set that these groups have obstruct the effort needed in calling people to Islam.

Ahmad Al Katani: Brother Abu Usamah. We must be realistic with what is present. There exists today 57 Islamic countries and we must collaborate with them. If these countries want to be truly Islamic and do so by legitimate means then wonderful. However, if they try to accomplish this by force, heroism, revolutions and bloodshed then I much prefer the divided nations that exist today over the caliphate whose outcome is unknown. We all know what has happened in the past and I don’t want to go into great detail.

Maher Abdallah: OK very briefly, in less than two minutes, is there a way to stop the Islamic hemorrhage in Africa?

Ahmad Al Katani: Yes! The plans are in place as well as the methods of implementation, the issue only needs some effort on the part of Islamic Arab countries and wealthy Arabs who also need to take some responsibility. We will not stop Christianization in one step, but we can confront it.

Maher Abdallah: When you say that the plans are in place, do you mean that you have made plans sheikh Ahmed or are there others?

Ahmad Al Katani: The workers in this field all know the necessary means (to accomplish this), they all know this. I am not the only one who is working on this issue. They all know the reasons that this happened.

Maher Abdallah: Very well sheikh Ahamd Katani. Thank you for coming and participating.

Dear viewers, there is nothing left but to thanks you and I apologize if we were unable to completely answer your questions. We also apologize to those who tried to contact us by fax this evening; it appears that there was a technical problem that prevented us from receiving these questions.

Until we meet in the next episode, I bid you farewell and the peace and blessings of Allah.

This article is a transcript of a television interview that first appeared on the Al-Jazeerah website and was translated by Eros on the Ex-Muslims: Dialogue with Muslims blog.

Read the entire article on the Ex-Muslims: Dialogue with Muslims website (new window will open).

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