Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Review Article: Outside In

Margins of Islam: Ministry in Diverse Muslim Contexts

Edited by Gene Daniels and Warrick Farah (Pasadena: William Carey), 2018, 240pp, £12.30 (Amazon), £7.66 (Kindle)
I was in Indonesia last year, teaching in a couple of seminaries.[1] That vast archipelago constitutes the most populous Muslim-majority nation on Earth. Just a few months earlier, the country was shocked when radical Islamists (from one family as it happens) killed thirteen worshippers at Easter services in the city of Surabaya.[2] That violent extremism seemed far away from the folk I met there, such as the middle-aged hijabi who sat next to me on the long train journey across the island and offered me a share of her snacks. I also met the leader of a movement of people, outside mainstream evangelicalism, who meet regularly in small groups to read the Bible and worship Jesus. After twenty years, the movement’s leaders reckon their numbers have now reached six figures. The key feature of these vignettes for our purposes is that all these people would identify as Muslims.
Since then, I have met a number of Muslims as I have visited universities around the UK. Let me introduce some of them to you: the young Mancunian woman in her hijab, the mature Iranian man who dare not go home for fear of the state, the Algerian researcher trying to make sense of the modern world, the Egyptian postgraduate student who asked me why Christians are so private about their religion, and the young Saudi woman who told me she had rejected Wahabi Islam when she saw what IS was doing.
What staggering diversity. How do we make sense of Islam in a world of such variety? What, after all, is Islam? Is it a religion or a way of life or something else? 
This book is a major contribution to understanding Islam and ministry to Muslims. Read more here.