Islam, The Challenge to the Church
Paperback, 126pp. Published by Isaac Publishing, The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, SN9 5DB. Price £5.95, ISBN 0 9547835 4 9.
As a convert to the Christian faith from Islam Patrick Sookdheo is well qualified to write a book which seeks to help Christians to understand the impact which Islam is having on Western society, and in particular its challenge to the professing church. The book begins by describing Islam – its beliefs and practices, pointing out its emphasis on externals, and on the subjection of the interests of the individual to those of the wider group: he explains that loyalty to the global community overrides any loyalty to a nation-state. The whole of the section on ‘Understanding Islam’ provides an excellent and concise survey, covering basic beliefs and how Islam projects itself today. The second main section compares Islam with the Christian faith, noting the ultimate difference – ‘When the muezzin calls, “There is no god but God” he is stating that Jesus is not God; and when he adds that “Muhammad is his messenger” he is declaring that Jesus has been superseded by Muhammad’. The third chapter on ‘Issues’ underlines Islam’s ambition of re-ordering society according to Islamic values. Legal protection, education, the treatment of women, the use of the media, using the political process to influence society, the treatment of those who apostasize, attitudes to people of other faiths and punishment are all addressed, together with jihad (holy war) and the efforts to extend Islamic territory.
There is a fourth chapter that considers the practical issues which inevitably arise for Christians and an appendix suggesting how believers might approach Muslims. Overall, this is a helpful volume that should be made widely available.
[Our thanks to Ed Hotchin, Hucknall, Nottingham, for this review]