Loving Our Neighbour

Taking That First Step

The eleventh and final of a series of articles examining how we can respond to Muslims in the UK

Muslim immigration to the UK has happened in waves: first the Pakistanis in the 60s, then the Ugandan Asians, then Bangladeshis in the 70s and so on. More recently we have seen an influx of Somalis and refugees from the Middle East. Each group arrives with the idea that Britain is a Christian country. Some have a real openness to find out about the Christian faith.

But very quickly they see the immorality and indifference to religion in British society, and assume that this is what Christianity has produced. Very few meet up with anyone who will talk to them about their faith. Many Muslims seek to protect their families from what they see around them, and retreat into their own communities and culture – a culture which they see as Islamic.

In Britain, many voices say: ‘They should fit in with British culture if they want to live here.’ As Christians, we should be the first to understand their desire to be separate from evil – we have the same desire ourselves. But this situation means that we will wait forever if we expect them to come to us, seeking out our faith.

Instead, we must go to them. To break down barriers, we need at least to understand their culture and preferably adopt some of it ourselves – perhaps learn a little of their language. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, we are told. But without taking that first step, the journey does not begin. What will be your first step?

How about…

  • asking your Muslim workmate out for a meal or to a football match?
  • asking how they cook their national dish?
  • organising a visit from your church to the local mosque?
  • getting into internet chats with Muslims, perhaps after a TV programme on a key issue?
  • coming on the AWM summer outreach team in London?

Whatever you do, make sure you take a first step!

Written by AWM UK’s former Ministry Team Co-ordinator and edited, with permission, for the website.

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