Last Sunday evening (July 20), I attended a talk comparing Islam and Christianity given by Mujahid El-Hasih at Holy Name Catholic Church. The speaker compared texts from the Bible and Quran. Not being familiar with the Quran, I am not in a position to judge his commentary.
However, I did take issue with two facts he quoted:
He asserted, "There are more mosques in London that there are churches."
His source was not revealed, but from my personal experience of London I would go so far as to contradict his claim.
Furthermore, the Times Online, dated April 1, 2008, headlined "No more mosques," states that a study by Premier Christian Radio claimed there are currently 47,000 Christian churches in the United Kingdom and 1,600 mosques.
By simple logic this would also suggest Mujahid El-Hasih's figures for London are wrong.
My second concern was his claim that the Archbishop of Canterbury was calling for Sharia law in the United Kingdom, suggesting that there would be a blanket application of Sharia law. Headlines at the time, in poorly researched English newspapers, perhaps gave that impression.
However, a glance at the BBC news Web page (Feb. 7, 2008) reads: "Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion. For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court."
Later the report also quotes the Archbishop saying, "There's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law."
He is referring here to the rabbinical courts dealing with certain aspects for the Jewish community such as marital disputes.
These two facts were but a small section of Mujahid El-Hasih's talk, but caused me to question the validity of his main theme.
A talk based on the similarities of the Bible and the Quran would have been a constructive way to building a bridge to our understanding of fellow human beings.
I hope the audience were not swayed by his suggestions that there is no fundamental connection between Christians and Muslims.