Evangelical Hegemony on Religious Dialogue
Christian Evangelicals in an attempt to discredit the dialogue between two scholars, namely Dr. Ally and Dr. Crossan have been enforcing some very odd, if not extreme arguments against the speakers. In their vain attempts, they have used the example of Ahmadi/ Qadiani opportunist turned Evangelical Ultra Conservative Christian speaker, Nabeel Qureishi. Their argument is presented as such:
- Dr. Crossan has heretical beliefs according to Evangelicals.
- Nabeel is to Islam, what Dr. Crossan is to Christianity.
However, this is an appeal to the fallacy of false equivocation. The decision to have Dr. Crossan share a stage with Dr. Ally was not due to Dr. Crossan’s beliefs, but due to his scholastic credentials – which far outweighs that of his detractors. The comparison with Nabeel is a bit simple minded, if not juvenile. Nabeel was not qualified in any Islamic science, not one. He was not a Mufti, Mawlana, Qadhi, Mufasir, Muhadith, he was qualified in not a single Islamic field of study. His authority to speak on Islam as given to him by the Evangelical community is merely due to a title of, “ex-Muslim” and not due to his lack of Islamic scholastic credentials. Whereas with Dr. Crossan, his list of well attested and erudite scholastic credentials is significant. This is possibly the first time that Dr. Ally will be on stage with a Christian scholar with such a grand background of scholarly qualification, study and research. Therefore, while the Evangelicals are running around screaming bloody murder, basing their Ministerial authority on titles and lack of study, we – the Muslim community have our arms wide open in accepting dialogue with those whose credentials stand first and beliefs after.
I was a bit appalled though, to find one Christian colleague of mine, defending the above logic, by claiming that Nabeel – despite his heretical beliefs was still more qualified to speak on Islam than Dr. Crossan is on Christianity because Nabeel affirmed the 6 articles of faith and the 5 pillars of Islam. This only goes to demonstrate the weak understanding of Islam that both the Ahmadis/ Qadianis have along with the Evangelical community. Before we even get to the articles of faith and the pillars of Islam, the first criteria of belief is Tawheed and then the Khatm Nubuwwat of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Since Ahmadis deny the latter, they therefore do not qualify to be labelled as Muslims according to orthodox beliefs. Even if we examine the articles of faith – included in it is the belief in the Prophets and the belief that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last Prophet – something Ahmadis/ Qadianis vehemently deny. What is a bit ironic is that the young apologist who claimed such a defense originated from Nabeel’s previous correspondences with him, concerning his “orthodoxy” in Islam, demonstrated through such an argument that Nabeel was firmly ignorant on what the 6 articles of faith are, or what they entailed.
In another twist of events, it seems as if the Christian colleague of mines decided to label Dr. Crossan as a de-facto atheist. So not only has the Evangelical community decided to give authority to Nabeel because of a label he once wore with no scholarly credentials behind him (in regards to Islam), they’ve taken away authority from one educated scholar not due to his credentials but due to a title they’ve typecasted him into. To me, that is not only a double standard and self defeating – it is quite unfortunate to see that this is the level with which the Evangelical Christian movement must stoop to, in order to prevent healthy and scholastic inter-faith dialogue. As our teachers have taught us, damnant non quod intelligunt – they condemn what they do not understand.
and God knows best.