Imam Invited to Open Presbyterian Assembly Promptly Denigrates Christians
The Presbyterian Church (USA) -- one of the nation’s foremost mainline Protestant churches and the largest Presbyterian body in the country -- recently convened in Portland, Oregon, for its 222nd General Assembly. Its “first order of business” was to commemorate the victims of the Orlando jihad massacre at the Pulse nightclub, as well as those killed last year at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
And what better way to do that than to invite a Muslim spokesman to address the assembly?
That’s what the Presbyterians thought, anyway -- and predictably enough, hilarity ensued.
Wajdi Said from the Muslim Community Center of Portland, a co-founder of Portland’s Muslim Educational Trust (MET), was the Presbyterians’ choice. The MET, according to its website, is dedicated to helping “create an open, empowering, and collaborative atmosphere within the Muslim community in the greater Portland area,” and is focused upon “education through positive interaction with Muslims and non-Muslims and honest communication with the media and public officials.”
And so, no doubt in the interests of positive interaction with the non-Muslims of the Presbyterian Church USA, Said prayed this at the General Assembly:
Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path -- the path of all the prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
The assembled Presbyterians no doubt thought they were being wonderfully open-minded and ecumenical: a Muslim praying to Allah and invoking Muhammad as a prophet at their General Assembly right after the Orlando jihad massacre! Had there been a more thrilling demonstration of fashionable leftism anywhere since members of the Black Panthers attended upscale dinner parties in the late '60s?
While the happy Presbyterians were congratulating themselves on their edginess and willingness to stand up to The Man, they didn't realize that Wajdi Said was not offering a universal prayer of interfaith harmony.
He was actually openly proselytizing for Islam -- and denigrating Christianity.
“Lead us on the straight path” is straight from the Fatihah, the Opening. This is the Qur’an’s first chapter, and the most common, oft-repeated prayer in Islam.
The final two verses of the Fatihah ask Allah:
Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked anger or of those who are astray.
The traditional Islamic understanding of this prayer: the “straight path” is Islam; the path “of those who have evoked Allah’s anger” are the Jews; those who have gone “astray” are the Christians.
No, this is not a lone “extremist” interpretation.
Most Muslim commentators believe that the Jews are those who have earned Allah’s wrath and that the Christians are those who have gone astray -- while the sole “straight path” is Islam.
The classic Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains:
[T]he two paths He described here are both misguided. ... [The] two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them.
The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge.
This is why "anger" descended upon the Jews, while being described as "led astray" is more appropriate of the Christians.