The art of Jihad, detained on honeymoon and Britain's first liberal Mosque

image: flickr Geoff Livingston

image: flickr Geoff Livingston

Welcome to this week's roundup of what's in the media.

A book The Art and Social Practices of Militant Extremists has recently been published. The book describes daily life for Jihadis. It describes their poetry, music, emotional sensitivity as well as guidance gained through dreams.  The author of the book, Hegghammer, started being interested in this subject in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attack was carried out in New York and this research has been his passion ever since. The book gives an insight into "more than bombs and doctrines. It is also about rituals, customs and dress codes. It is about music, films and storytelling. It is about sports, jokes, and food.”  

Jihadists did a lot of things seemingly at odds with their brutal image: weeping, writing and reciting poetry, singing, recalling and interpreting dreams, perfecting their manners and taking an inordinate interest in their appearance.
— https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/the-culture-that-makes-a-jihadi-thomas-hegghammer-interview-poetry-militancy

As well as dealing with what Jahadis do in their down time there is also a discussion about their religious knowledge and motivation.

“They’re not real Muslims” is now a set response to any atrocity committed in Islam’s name. It’s an understandable, perhaps even commendable impulse, but it suffers from the great disadvantage of being factually wrong.
— https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/the-culture-that-makes-a-jihadi-thomas-hegghammer-interview-poetry-militancy

A couple have been detained on honeymoon "because the groom is Muslim". After paying £7000 for a dream trip to LA, Las Vegas and Hawaii, the couple were detained on arrival in America. After being held for questioning - a process they believed would take ten minutes but took 26 hours, their luggage and phones were confiscated. They were then handcuffed and put on a plane to return to the UK.  They can only conjecture that they were refused entry because the groom originates from Turkey but is in reality a British citizen. The US embassy has so far denied that people are barred from entry on grounds of faith.

‘We believe that since Trump was elected, they took one look at his name, thought he was Muslim and didn’t let him in.’
— http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/25/couple-detained-on-honeymoon-because-the-groom-is-muslim-6803939/

54 year old feminist Seyran Ates, accompanied by close protection officers, visited London this week. Seyran, who has had police protection since 2006, founded a liberal Mosque in Berlin and would like open the first liberal Mosque in Britain. Despite receiving death threats she would like to open a Mosque where men and women, people of any race, as well as LGBT Muslims, and Muslims from all strands of Islam are able to pray together. She also takes a tough stance on headscarves and when the Mosque in Berlin first opened women wearing headscarves were not admitted.  Egypt's Islamic body has declared such an approach incompatible with Islam, the Turkish religious authority has called it an experiment to ruin religion, whereas Labour peers in the UK support her concept of an inclusive Mosque.

“I’m not alone with this idea. It is a movement, it’s a revolution,” she told the Guardian. “I may be the face of the liberal mosque, but I alone am not the mosque. We have millions of supporters all over the world.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/26/seyran-ates-muslim-feminist-liberal-mosque-london-britain

For more about differences between Muslims check out Nabeel Qureshi's vlog. I'll leave the last word to him. 

You have many differences among Muslims. If you just see Muslims as a monolithic set of people, chances are you haven’t spent any time with real Muslims- because you’ll realize they are all different.
— Nabeel Qureshi

Sample Mahabba group coordinator role description

Sample Mahabba group coordinator role description

Overall role

  • Lead the Mahabba group, coordinating its different functions, relating with local church leaders and seeking God for vision and direction

Responsibilities

  • Pray for God’s work though the prayer group and seek his guidance
  • Ensure that the following functions are maintained and developed by the different task groups: Prayer
    • Flow of information
    • Financial record-keeping
    • Training programmes
    • Outreach/learning groups
  • Relationships with local churches and agencies, wider links in Britain, particularly with other Mahabba groups in the region and the Mahabba Network
  • Relate to the Advisory Group regularly through its chair, meeting as a group twice or three times a year
  • Manage, guide and encourage volunteer members within the prayer group, particularly the Core Team

Criteria for this role

Essential qualities

(Evident in your life, while not perfected)

  • Godly, teachable and accountable in personal life and ministry
  • Having an evangelical faith, but willing to work with churches of different denominations and styles
  • Able to inspire and encourage people who give their time as volunteers
  • Warm in personal relationships
  • Efficient and conscientious in administration and communication
  • Longing for Muslims to come to Christ and be built up in him
  • Love for the local church and commitment to working in and through local congregations
  • Having the credibility of several years’ experience of ministry with Muslim people
  • Some experience in leading a team, and in implementing vision and strategy

Desirable qualities

Would include:

  • Familiarity with local area
  • The ability to teach on Islam (but if not, facilitate an alternative)

Time Commitment

  • One and a half to two days a week

Appointment

  • Would be by the Advisory Group of the local Mahabba prayer group, after interview
  • It would be for a minimum of one year, ideally for at least two

Funding

  • Depending on the local group, this might be in a volunteer spirit or a stipend, depending on need because the coordinator has to give more time than others
  • Generally, a Mahabba prayer groups does not have the structure to employ anyone
 

Download this as a PDF

Mahabba Network Common Commitment

Mahabba Network Common Commitment

Mahabba is a network built on prayer and relationships, which is growing in different ways, and in different locations.

Mahabba is a very flexible, but if a local prayer group wishes to regard itself as part of the overall Mahabba Network, or use the Mahabba name, it must, enthusiastically and with integrity, share the vision and values that make up the basic DNA of the Mahabba Network.

Vision of Mahabba

Mahabba’s vision is to:

To see everyday Christians engaged with everyday Muslims under the leadership and initiative of local churches
— Our vision

This is the vision that every Mahabba initiative adopts and towards which it is proactively working.

Values of Mahabba

Championed by church leaders in unity

We believe that church leaders are the best people to motivate their congregations to reach Muslims; they don’t need to be experts on Islam themselves.

Every Mahabba group involves church leaders as much as possible in the leadership, promotion and accountability of a local Mahabba group.

Persistent prayer

Mahabba was birthed in prayer, so we see passionate prayer as the fuel for the continued development of this vision.

Every Mahabba group meets regularly for prayer.

Love for Muslim people

The word ‘Mahabba’ means ‘love’ in Arabic and we advocate living out a life of love and graciousness towards Muslims. Our greatest gift of love is Jesus himself.

Every Mahabba group adopts the ‘Ethical Guidelines for Christian & Muslim Witness in Britain’ as one of the ways to demonstrate love, respect & graciousness towards Muslims.

Mobilising everyday Christians

We dream of multitudes of Christians in Britain having the confidence and skill to reach out to Muslim people, not just leaving it to the ‘specialists’.

Every Mahabba group equips ordinary Christians, with specialists and agency personnel taking a back seat as mobilisers, trainers and facilitators.

Growing believers

We aim to mentor new believers from all backgrounds, discipling them to become catalysts who share their faith and multiply within dynamic local fellowships.

Mahabba groups take mentoring new believers very seriously, as they seek to disciple them and build growing local fellowships.

Commitments of Mahabba

Being in the Mahabba Network involves:

  • Keeping in touch, cooperating with & providing information as appropriate to Mahabba nationally
  • Being proactive in taking opportunities to share with, learn from, encourage and meet face to face those involved in other Mahabba groups
  • Support, as opportunity arises, the financial needs of the Mahabba Network overall

Download the Ethical Guideslines for Witness

Download the Common Commitment as a PDF

Lebanon, Miss World,Fashion and Mind blowing Halal Sex

image credit: flickr bellmon 1

image credit: flickr bellmon 1

Welcome to this week's edition of the roundup.

One of the Mahabba facilitators has been in Lebanon recently and has met an inspirational couple who are running a school for refugee children. They explain how they started the school and state:-

“This is a special time. You can look at the refugee issue and see it as either a problem or an opportunity. They are coming to us now, so we can ask, do we have something to give? And of course we have a lot to give...
The Syrians are coming to us. Instead of hating them, we should preach the gospel. Where others see horror, I see children of God; I see future pastors and apostles among them.”
— https://www.churchmissionsociety.org/our-stories/lot-learn-lebanon

There is also an account of a Muslim lady who started to attend church in Lebanon and came to faith.

“... She saw the love of Jesus and got baptised and then her husband did the same after a month. They are now in another country, sharing about the Lord with Muslim people there.”

“I thought I was coming to help refugees,” he continued. “But I see now they are helping me, praying for me. All the relief work this church does is now done by Syrian people. It’s like living in the book of Acts. I’ve learned not to put God in a box; I knew he was big; now I’m seeing this with my own eyes.”
— https://www.churchmissionsociety.org/our-stories/lot-learn-lebanon

I think that is a challenge to us, wherever we live!

A Muslim woman who spent time in a Bosnian refugee camp has been crowned Miss World Australia. Twenty five year old Esma Voloder moved to Australia at five months old. She has a degree in psychology and currently works as a criminal profiler. She has been reported to be using her new found fame to challenge Islamophobia.  She will go on to compete at the finals in China at the end of the year.  She has stated:-

“The Islam that I know, that is in the Quran, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world,”
— https://tribune.com.pk/story/1461489/muslim-woman-just-crowned-miss-world-australia-2017/

Women's clothing is also once again in the news. The burkini which was often in the news last summer in France has now reached the the headlines in the Czech Republic. Apparently complaints about wearing the garment aren't  abased on religious intolerance rather concerns regarding hygiene. Water parks vary in their response to the burkini- with some banning them, others 'tolerating' them and other locations inspecting swim wear on arrival. 

A denim hijab, modelled by a Somali refugee, has also made the headlines. Staying on the hijab theme, a new hijab emoji has been created by a Saudi teenager after being unable to find an emoji that represented her. The design was accepted by Apple on Monday- and now headscarf wearing women around the world will have an emoji to represent them.

And finally a Muslim sex guide for women has been published- entitled The Muslimah Sex Manual: A Halal Guide for Mind Blowing Sex. Written anonymously, the author has received "disgusting messages" as well as praise.  

Muslim women’s organisations have praised her, saying the book will empower Muslim women and protect them from entering into sexually abusive relationships
— https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/16/muslimah-sex-manual--halal-sex-guide-muslim-women-seeking-fulfilling-love-lives

The range of articles referred to today comes from Lebanon, Australia, America, The Czech Republic, and the UK. They are about people in different situations dealing with different issues.  I am sure there are other views. But I suggest that this week's media snap shot illustrates some of the diversity of the Muslim world. So how should we respond?  I'll leave you with one suggestion:-

“Relax. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy their company along with the company of Jesus. Point Him out, freely, without fear or intimidation. You’re not responsible to sell Him to them. You’re simply saying what you’ve seen. You’re not the judge. You’re the witness. We’ll go further and further into this way of thinking until you’re free to speak of Jesus often and always. And you’ll see—people will listen. Not because we’re so good, but because He is compelling!”
― Carl Medearis, Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism
— https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/772230.Carl_Medearis

Updates from the Network

Gordon continues to have good conversation about fundraising as we look into how Mahabba can grow beyond the UK. For the moment, he is taking some well earned rest with his wife, Rachel!

On the national, UK, stage, we are now up to about 45 groups with lots of new enquiries recently. A handful of them have resulted in groups being set up across the country, with a particular flurry in London.

The Network Team of Regional Facilitators is also gearing up for a team day in August, which will be helpful for planning as we enter the busy Autumn period.

The Hub has been busy with lots of things, as usual, but has been distributing leaflets for the new Friends of Mahabba initiative to all the coordinators of local Mahabba prayer groups. If you received one, do consider becoming a Friend of Mahabba!

We've been encouraged by an enquiry in Carlisle recently, which is an area devoid of any groups at the moment. Elsewhere in the North West, there have been lots of encouraging stories of conversations with imams, Friendship First courses scheduled and even a BBQ for groups in the Manchester area!

Equally, in the East, God has been working in the local Pakistani community. One local Muslim has been seeking Jesus in a big way and come to church. We're really praying and having faith for an overdue breakthrough among Pakistanis.

Further south, there has been new growth in the Basingstoke-Newbury area, and one enquiry commented: ‘I saw on a recent shopping visit that there seem to be more Muslims in Newbury than in Basingstoke.’ Good then that a group is getting started!

Also of note is a follow up event to the Mahabba training day that happened in Croydon. This is planned for November in Woking with the possibility of involvement from the diocese.

Finally, we wrap up in the west region, where there is now a second Mahabba group in the Bristol area.

So many encouragements - God is on the move!

Is giving Bibles to Muslim refugees a good way to evangelise?

Is giving Bibles to Muslim refugees a good way to evangelise?

Alice asked us about the merits of distributing Bibles to Muslim refugees:

I have heard that giving bibles to Muslim refugees is a good way to evangelise. Do you think so?
 

OUR RESPONSE

Thanks to the help of some specialists on The City (have you joined yet?), we can relay the following advice.


Be appropriate

I would never give a whole Bible to a Muslim I didn’t know. I might give a New Testament in an appropriate language, but I would certainly give a gospel – probably Luke, because it starts with the birth narrative. Everyone loves a story. The gospels are brilliant stories, so different from the Qur’an. If you give a gospel to a Muslim he will probably read it cover to cover in one sitting, then there is so much to discuss.

The Gospel of Luke alone is the most powerful tool to use for a Muslim mind to digest.

Muslims are led to believe that Bible has been corrupted. So, if you give Bibles to Muslim refugees the first time you meet them, they may take it from you but chances are they are not going to read it. I think it’s very important to make friends first, get them thirsty, and then offer the Bible.

It’s all about putting time and effort into developing close friendships. The question is, do believers have the passion to do this, or do they just simply give a Bible and hope for the best?

 

Be specific

God can speak through his word! But even better would be someone engaging with them and the bible.

At least give a suggested list of bits to read (Creation to Christ perhaps) and questions to think about when reading.

Best of all, a recommendation of somewhere to go with questions.

 

Be discrete

Giving out Bibles to all like sweets is probably not a good idea.

It is certainly helpful to have them available and visible so that they can be picked up should someone be curious or interested.

We have a range of Bibles out on a shelf in our community cafe and sometimes one or two disappear. We pray they are being read. 

When someone asks for a Bible an offer to read it with them may be seen as awelcome invitation.

 

Be relevant

Ensure that the Bible is in the appropriate languages. If not, then they need to be - it is a must, if someone is to be able to read the word and understand it.

 

Related FAQs

What does Mahabba do to meet, engage and ultimately convert Muslims to Christianity?

What does Mahabba do to meet, engage and ultimately convert Muslims to Christianity?

Phil asked us about our work and approaches to seeing Muslims come to know Jesus:

I believe most Muslims have heritage in places where there is not freedom to consider Christianity, and we have the opportunity to fulfill that need now that they are in a free country
 

OUR RESPONSE

Thanks to the help of some specialists on The City, we an relay the following advice.


1. What do you do to meet, engage, and ultimately convert Muslims to Christianity?

We help sow and establish local prayer groups, as we believe that for the Gospel to breakthrough among Muslims, there needs to be a strong foundation of prayer.

We believe that people do not convert Muslims, rather God will cause people to turn to him via Jesus Christ.

As such, persistent prayer is vital, so we invest heavily in fostering this activity in the Network.

As groups get establish, we support them with resources, materials and advice for the plans and visions they have to do practical outreach.

We do this in various forms and according to local needs, such as facilitating Friendship First courses or Meetings for Better Understanding.

2. Do you have any Mahabba groups outside the UK?

We are currently focussed on work in the UK, but there is much interest internationally.

We are looking to set up Mahabba officially on the international stage, at which point we will be able to respond more intentionally to requests.

3. How do you use donations to further your mission. What do you buy and how do you deliver it?

The majority of funds received is directed locally, as we seek to support and equip local expressions of outreach to Muslims.

We have a group of regional reps that we fund in order to help, advise and counsel local prayer groups as they outwork their heart to see Muslims come to know Jesus.

 

Inspiring stories of our impact

Elliot's Roundup: The hate preacher, the gay wedding and the baker

image credit: flickr Jamie Anderson

For those convinced that every Muslim is a terrorist, just try reading the news. My search came up with a few different stories. A radio station suspended for broadcasting al Qaeda recruiter's speeches, possibly the first Muslim gay wedding in the UK, and Nadia's thoughts about appearing on the Bake Off.

Twenty five hours of speeches by "the Bin Laden of the internet" were played on a Muslim radio station based in Sheffield during Ramadan.  After a complaint received about Anwar Al-Awlaki the watchdog Ofcom made the judgement that the lectures:

“amounted to a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people”.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/iman-fc-muslim-radio-station-sheffield-al-qaeda-anwar-al-awlaki-charlie-hebdo-hate-speech-jihadi-a7830256.html

Jahed Choudhury and Sean Rogan have been recently got married in Walsall. Their wedding has been reported as the first gay Muslim wedding in the UK.(although another gay couple- one of whom is Muslim married in Birmingham in October last year.)  Jaheed  has married after being bullied at school ,barred from attending the Mosque and attempting suicide because of his sexuality.

Now married and very much in love, the couple, who recently returned from their honeymoon in Spain, said they hope to show the world “that you can be gay and Muslim”.
— http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/uk-first-gay-muslim-marriage-jahed-choudhury-and-sean-rogan_uk_59648e64e4b03f144e2d4e67

They have recieved a lot of online abuse since getting married.  Many comments have been made online such as: 

“Just putting asian costumes doesn’t make it a Muslim marriage, there is no concept of gay marriage in Islam.
Another said: “They are not Muslims, we don’t have gays and lesbians.”
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/muslim-gay-wedding-couple-uk-first-online-abuse-jahed-choudhury-sean-rogan-walsall-west-midlands-a7836936.html

Nadia Hussain, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2015, has also been in the news this week. The article mentions the negativity and aggression she felt before appearing on The Great British Bake Off.  Although apprehensive of being the "token Muslim" on the programme. 

“We are so much more accepting than that: I never realised Britain had such open arms”... and realised “what a lovely country I live in”.
— http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2017/07/11/nadiya-hussain-felt-like-token-muslim-bake/

Is every Muslim a terrorist? Is every Muslim opposed of gay marriage? Has every Muslim baked cakes for the Queen?  Perhaps its time to let go of some of our stereotypes and get to know some of the individuals around us who happen to be Muslims.  

Please get in touch and tell us how it went.

How to inspire people to pray for Muslims

How to inspire people to pray for Muslims

This resource was shared at the 2016 National Gathering by Heather from Mahabba Oxford.

It is designed to help local coordinators foster prayer in local Mahabba prayer groups, but can be used elsewhere!

Resources

Keep informed

  • Stay connected with those in your prayer group/location who are working in Muslim contexts
  • Invite them to share when that’s possible
  • Build relationship between intercessors and those they’re praying for

Muslim world

  • There are masses of resources!
  • Too much information can make it difficult to pray, so be selective

Local knowledge

  • How many mosques in your area?
  • What sort of mosques?
  • Who are the imams?
  • Pray for them by name

Muslim communities

  • Ethnicity?
  • Brand of Islam?
  • What are their issues or challenges?

Special events

Your community

  • What’s going on in Muslim communities that you can pray for?
  • What are churches doing that you can bring a Muslim focused aspect to?

New believers

  • Pray for those who have come to faith from Islam
  • Invite any locally to meet with you if appropriate

Practical Ideas

  • Have a plan – you can always change it!
  • Vary the menu (eg., personal/local, national, international)
  • What do people in your group care about? Pray for Muslim friends by name
  • Incorporate worship – big requests require us to remember we have a great God
  • Remember to be thankful – feedback on answered prayer where possible
  • Develop persistence/perseverance – we may never know how our prayers are answered but we keep praying

Vary styles and patterns

  • Stay in a large group
  • Pairs/3’s/small groups
  • Move around
  • Don’t be afraid of silence
  • Give time to listening/reflecting
  • Speak out together
  • Declaration
  • Imagination (e.g., how do you think it feels to be a Muslim woman unwelcome at the mosque? How does it feel to be a moderate Muslim in Britain today?)
  • Be visual – use maps, pictures, short video clips
  • Scripture
  • Pray positively – choose to bless

The final word

  • Know your prayer group
  • Work with who you’ve got, not with who you wish was there!
  • Those who are there want to pray – aim to send them away encouraged!
  • Remember, everyone else’s prayer meeting isn’t more interesting/dynamic/successful/fruitful than yours!

I called on the name of Jesus

I called on the name of Jesus

This is the story of a member of a local Mahabba prayer group who has seen God move in the life of a Muslim from the local Pakistani community. This is a true story and happened recently in a city in the UK.


I met with a local Pakistani man who'd contacted a local church through their website.

He explained that as he'd begun to study Islam for himself the more he'd been put off.

He told me that it's the same for many others he knows.

He was thinking of becoming an atheist when a dream of Jesus started him on a quest to explore the Christian faith.

To begin with, he spent a lot of time talking with Jehovah's Witnesses, but found aspects of their faith quite off putting.

A few days before we met for coffee he'd had another dream.

He was being attacked by witches and evil spirits but repeating the Islamic statement of faith was having no effect.

In desperation he called on the name of Jesus to save him and the evil presences fled away.

He woke feeling shaken but determined to find out more.

He's keen to come and visit our church on Sunday and meet other believers from a Muslim background. 

Elliot's Round up: Acid Attacks and Hampers

image credit: Hiroyuki Takeda flickr

image credit: Hiroyuki Takeda flickr

This week's media selection starts off with acid attacks. According to one report Newham has been named as Britain's acid attack capital with 415 attacks since 2010. There has also been a sharp rise in attacks in London with 431 last year compared to 261 in 2015. UK wide there has been a doubling of attacks. Jameel Mukhtar and Resham Khan have been left with life changing injuries as a result of an attack in East London in June. Initially police refused to register the attack as a hate crime but have reclassified it as a racially or religiously motivated crime.  There is currently a petition to ban the sale of acids without a licence that can be signed.

Research suggests that the government's anti radicalisation "prevent" strategy is counter productive and causing Muslims to become further marginalised.  Promoting "British Values" and emphasis on "Britishness" is seen as particularly problematic. Instead of "equipping them with the knowledge to question extremist and radical views," the policy could be causing increased stigmatisation of Muslim students making then less likely to speak out. 

In a more positive light, Muslims are preparing to deliver hampers as a token of appreciation to fire fighters who fought the Grenfell Tower fire. Swansea's Muslim community has also been in the news for inviting everyone to an Eid in the Park event on Sunday, which will involve food, magic shows, inflatables and a football tournament. Eid was also celebrated in Trafalgar Square recently.  (Video available here).

Swansea's Eid event  is open to "all people regardless of age, sex, religion, creed or race." What  an invitation!  A free event- where everyone is welcome! What a challenge to me. I could probably be welcoming once a year given enough time to work up to it. I have received some great welcomes and magnificent hospitality so I know its important. But could I be welcoming everyday of the year, not just on a special occasion?  I know a friend who is welcoming everyday not only for free but also for the desperate, the hungry, the thirsty, the overlooked,the tortured, the imprisoned, the refugee and the unloved.  Jesus is still ready to welcome.  Are we ready to follow him?

Prayer resources for the Night of Power

Prayer resources for the Night of Power

Prayer resources for the Night of Power

Many local Mahabba prayer groups put on a Night of Power prayer meeting each Ramadan, not to mention other church small groups. With this in mind, we have put together some resources to help you structure your time and provide some focal points.

If you have any recommendations or feedback, please leave a comment below!   

 

Presentation

This is based on a PowerPoint developed by the Mahabba Cheltenham group for its prayer meeting on the Night of Power. It looks at themes of open heaven associated with this holiest night of Ramadan and John 1:51 - Jesus the link between God and humanity. The presenter notes can be found as comment 'bubbles' on each page of the PDF. The group used it to reflect on how Jesus presented Himself as Jacob’s ladder.

 

Prayercast videos

A series of videos that you can use to help you and your group focus your prayer time. Elliot in The Hub recommends the film on Ishmael, which can equally be used as the basis for prayer. 

 

Assorted web resources

Elliot in The Hub also put together these items from websites.

 

A prayer for The Night of Power

A Mahabba member commented that she really liked the Lovefast prayer for Night of Power, written by Gordon, which is equally good as a primer for prayer.

Father, tonight I am standing in unity and agreement with millions of fellow believers, and we thank you on this special night for an outpouring of your spirit across the whole Muslim world. As they seek you, will you reveal yourself to them in dreams and visions, and may countless millions have a life changing encounter with you, where they will come to know you as “Father” and Jesus as “Isa Al-Massih” - Jesus the Messiah
— Gordon

How do I start a Mahabba group?

How do I start a Mahabba group?

How do I start a Mahabba group?

It's dead easy, so don't worry! We've listed six simple steps below that we recommend you take.

Step One

Step Two

  • Contact The Hub (Mahabba's central office) and ask to be put in touch with your nearest Regional Facilitator
  • One of our friendly reps will then help you take the next steps to start a local Mahabba prayer group and support you as you develops and grow

Step Three

Gather

  • Gather people into your local Mahabba prayer group
  • This relies on God, so it has to begin and be sustained by, persistent prayer
  • Don’t worry if it starts with only a few people
  • Keep making the group known and invite new people to join you
  • It is better to have a few committed people then many who are not

Get support

  • Seek to get the backing of local church leaders
  • Invite people from different local churches to participate
  • Mahabba works best as an activity of the wider church in your area, not only your local church

Build team

  • Designate someone, or better two or three people to coordinate the prayer meetings and other activities that emerge later from the prayer group

Be regular

  • Set a regular time to meet as a local Mahabba prayer group
  • Some Mahabba groups meet weekly, some monthly
  • The frequency is up to you, but it’s good to be persistent in prayer
  • There is no set way of praying, but again there are a few guidelines:
    1. We pray with the motivation of the love of God for Muslims
    2. Pray for everyday church member’s contacts
    3. Pray for the work among Muslims in the local area
    4. Pray for national and international prayer needs

For more ideas on how to inspire prayer in your group, see the following blog:

Elliot's Roundup: Bullying, uniform, fish and chips, and celebrating Eid in Trafalgar Square

image: flickr- Chris Goldberg

image: flickr- Chris Goldberg

Since recent terror attacks the number of race based bullying incidents has jumped, with over 300 receiving counselling in the fortnight after the Manchester attack. Children as young as 9 have been called terrorists Some have stayed away from school to avoid the bullying, others have turned to self harm as a way to cope with the situation.

Muslim children have told Childline they’ve endured constant name-calling, been accused of being associated with Isis and been threatened with violence. Young girls have frequently been victimised when they wear a hijab or headscarf, the helpline said.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nine-year-old-children-terrorists-race-faith-hate-bullying-childline-manchester-arena-terror-attack-a7810051.html

Also in the news is a secondary school Sir John Thursby Community College in Burnley, Lancashire. Apparently the first school in the UK to offer headscarves as part of the school uniform has had complaints that the school's headscarves are not modest enough.  A petition has been signed by around 150 people which states the headscarves are too short and pose a suffocation hazard.  A working party comprised of students, parents, staff and governors are planning to meet to find an acceptable way forward

Ramadan has ended, which means 24% of the population can go back to eating and drinking in daylight hours once more. Wales Online asks a Muslim about his faith including some insights into how Muslims in Wales are feeling after recent events.  Muslims also share their view of living in Ireland in the following video. 

An article from York shows how all communities can become closer through food- this time shared fish and chips.  As Ramadan finished Eid was celebrated worldwide. Although already celebrated Eid will be celebrated again this Sunday 2nd July in Trafalgar Square.  There will be a range of events on the main stage as well as a global food market.  

“In these difficult times, it’s been truly inspiring to see how communities have come together in solidarity. Throughout Ramadan, I’ve joined Londoners from all faiths and backgrounds to break my fast at Iftars across our city. For me, this is what the holy month is all about – sharing time with others and showing empathy for one another.”
— http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/attractions/eid-in-trafalgar-square-2017-lineup-timings-and-sadiq-khans-statement-a3574331.html

Sadiq Khan's words remind me of the ancient, yet still challenging words, found in Isaiah about true fasting- working for justice, setting the oppressed free, sharing food, providing shelter as well as not neglecting our own families. 

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
— https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+58&version=NIV

Let's be those people. I would love to be known as Repairer of Broken Walls or Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Wouldn't you?

Lovefast out 🎤

Lovefast out 🎤

Thanks for following Lovefast over the last 30 days - it's been great!

We love to know what you've liked and what we can improve. Let us know your thoughts.

Other than that, we've put some of the highlights below.

 

Participants' stories

Lovefast 18 (Ties) suggested we seek to pray with a Muslim. I told the Lord I was willing, but didn’t know any Muslims. However, God responded to my willingness and brought in a very needy lady to our Church coffee morning who just happened to be a Muslim. We had a very good chat. As she poured out her heart I offered prayer. It turned out her Father is an imam, but she nervously allowed prayer. I am hoping she will come again.
I am really enjoying praying through the 30 Days of Prayer book and reading your Lovefast e-mails. I have been able to speak to some Muslims and some new converts from Iran, who have requested prayer. Be encouraged! I avidly read the information given. Thank you for your ministry.
Today I received a prayer request for a Muslim young man in Iran who is addicted to hashish, and for his father who desperately wants his son to give up the drugs. His brother has become a Christian and is making the request
I have lots of conversations with Muslims and pray with them regularly, even if they don’t believe in Jesus. Some have been baptised. Nearby we have seen many Iranians in particular (you won’t be surprised!) pray to receive Jesus and be baptised.
 

Comments on the blog

Many thanks for this thoughtful bulletin.
Lovefast day 1 done... Got to keep prejudicial thoughts at bay... and remember Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis that they too where set apart by God and their descendents would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Especially after Manchester it’s so easy to judge and condemn an entire religion... when in reality that task is only God’s place to do so. I must remember these people... and just pray for my witness of salvation through the blood of Jesus.

Most popular entry

Outside the first week, which normally attracts the highest engagement levels (while the campaign is still novel) Lovefast 11: Terror on 6 June was the most popular day. This followed the terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, so struck a chord, and we hope gave encouragement to respond in a positive way.

 

Lovefast 30: Love

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Lovefast 30: Love

By Elliot from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'France: praying for those who persecute you' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
— Matthew 5:44, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Remembering birthdays, special events, and celebrations are all tricky for me - even if these happen every year.

I’m not good at sending cards or buying gifts.

So it will be no surprise or huge confession to state that to be honest I’m not much good at loving my friends.

Yet Jesus tells us to go even further and tells us to love our enemies.

It’s not a suggestion, a handy hint, a possibility but a command.

Not only did Jesus instruct us with his words but he lived out his life as an example.

One response to extremism is fear of others - xenophobia.

Another response is love of strangers - phileoxenia.

 

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray for courage to live out this teaching today.

 

Daily action

Read this challenging article: http://www.preemptivelove.org/loving_your_enemy_isis_detainees

 

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 29: Change

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Lovefast 29: Change

By Alice
Inspired by 'The Komering of Indonesia' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’
— Hebrews 12:25-29, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Change

The everyday lives of the Komering people of Western Indonesia have undergone rapid change over the past decade.

And there is no end in sight for the 'future shock' they are experiencing.

New roads are being built.

These will establish more connections between the Komering lands and the rest of the island of Sumatra.

Cellphone towers are popping up across the region, bringing the Internet to areas which had only just received landline phones.

Rubber and other traditional forest plantations are giving way to palm oil plantations.

Change is everywhere, and more and more young people are going to the city to seek their fortune.

Will a new generation of leaders avoid the traps of corruption and vain ambition, and instead pour themselves out for the good of their neighbours and communities?

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray that during this tumultuous period, believers in the surrounding areas will have the wisdom to take full advantage of the changes occurring. May the gospel come in power to Komering men and women.

 

Daily action

Take note of every product that contains palm oil in your homes: cosmetics, food, etc. Use these as a reminder of how the lives of the Komering are being ‘shaken up’.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 28: Divided

Lovefast 28: Divided

By Chas from Mahabba Croydon
Inspired by 'The Gonja of North Ghana' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

For I have come to turn

‘“a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
— Matthew 10:35-36, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Divided

Families form strong attachments.

When someone considers becoming a follower of Jesus they are contemplating breaking these ties.

This is such a hard thing to do! Nevertheless, Jesus said it is the only way to grow as his follower.

It is also the only way that the rest of their family can have an opportunity to see the light of Jesus for themselves (Matthew 5:14-16).

Ramadan and Eid is a time when Muslim background believers are painfully aware of being separated from their families.

During Ramadan Muslims break their fast together, enjoying favourite meals and family time.

At Eid presents are bought for all the family. Rather like Christmas for us!

When a Muslim becomes a follower of Jesus all this is lost.

It leaves a gaping hole.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray that as Muslims put Jesus first in their lives that many others in their family would come to trust in Jesus too. Pray for strength and comfort for those who are separated from their families because of their faith.

 

Daily action

What could you do to support followers of Jesus from a Muslim background? Consider inviting them for a meal, buying them a gift or simply calling them to ask how they are.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Elliot's Roundup: Hatred, heroism, hunger, heatwave...

image: flickr Moose

image: flickr Moose

The attack on Finsbury Park Mosque, the imam who has been hailed as a hero, fasting during a heatwave and more. 

Monday saw a 47 year old father of four from Cardiff drive into a crowd of Muslims outside a London Mosque in a rented van. One person died and eleven were injured. The man who had interest in far right groups had recently voiced hatred for Muslims. 

“This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting,” said the Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick. “We treat this as a terrorist attack and we in the Met are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country at what has happened.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/19/finsbury-park-attack-suspect-named-as-cardiff-resident-darren-osborne

As the van driver was wrestled to the ground, the imam intervened to calm the situation.  

“The imam came from the mosque and he said, ‘Listen, we are fasting, this is Ramadan, we are not supposed to do these kinds of things, so please step back.’
“For that reason this guy is still alive today. This is the only reason. If the imam was not there, he wouldn’t be there today.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/19/imam-praised-for-protecting-finsbury-park-suspect-from-crowd

The imam has been widely praised for his actions  and recently visited by Prince Charles who was 'deeply impressed' by the imam's actions.  

Terrorist actions dominate the news. But daily life for many Muslims continues to be a struggle do to fasting for long hours in a heatwave. If fasting wasn't challenging enough, think of the estimated 148 million diabetic Muslims worldwide, according to the article, half of British diabetic Muslims fast.  Guidelines for managing diabetes during Ramadan are available, other Muslim diabetics have come to the conclusion that Ramadan is about fasting from the fast.  

Muslim women are also in the news this week. One article highlights the tradition of women only mosques in China. 

While Muslim women face restrictions in most mosques around the world, either being segregated by sex within the building or in some communities being banned from entering altogether, many Chinese Muslim women pray at institutions dedicated to serving their gender, a unique Chinese tradition.
— https://sputniknews.com/asia/201706221054863942-beijing-islam-female-only-mosque/

According to the article women only mosques have come about through merging of the Chinese and Islamic traditions. The idea has come about through  receiving the first Muslims in China as honoured guests and having a national culture of not barring women from public life.

Muslim women sporting pioneers have also been in the news. Dana Abdulkarim was teh first hijabi athlete to represent England- then teh first hijabi P.E. teacher.  Salma Bi was teh first Muslim woman to play cricket for Worcestershire, Anisa Ansar plays cricket for both Hampshire and England.

We have different tastes and preferences on how we live our lives and navigate our careers. Some of us wear hijabs, some don’t. Some have families who are supportive, some who aren’t and others that take a little more convincing.
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/40353279

Heroes, the hungry, Chinese, diabetic and athletic, it is clear there is no Muslim only many individual Muslims with their own interests, families and stories.

Could you be hospitable, share your interests and introduce them to your Father?

Lovefast 27: Fear

Image: Katie Chase, Unsplash

Image: Katie Chase, Unsplash

Lovefast 27: Fear

By Elliot from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'Protecting Muslim youth in Europe' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honour him.
— Psalm 91:15, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Fear

I’m afraid of watching the news and seeing the latest atrocities.

I just don’t want to face the reality of the latest tragedy.

Whilst I write this at my desk police in London have carried out raids and arrested seven people in connection with the Westminster attack that killed a policeman, an assailant, and pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge.

As yet no one has accepted responsibility for the attack.

Many will be more nervous on their way to work today.

Many families will also be worried that their children could be radicalised by friends, over the internet or in prison.

Let’s pray for those waging peace and for those at all levels attempting to formulate effective strategies.

Update: Since writing the above, there have been attacks in Sweden and on a bus in Germany.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Let’s pray for those waging peace and for those at all levels attempting to formulate effective strategies.

 

Daily action

Perhaps the best strategy is showing there is more to life and living a life of radically following Jesus. Watch the clip, 'How can love radically today?'

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!