‘Islam and North America’ event in Georgia urges hope, not fear

‘Islam and North America’ event in Georgia urges hope, not fear

By the year 2050 the Muslim population in North America is projected to double. That figure might trouble some people in the United States, but Pastor Micah Fries believes Christians have no reason to be concerned.

The North American Mission Board hosted an event May 2 in Alpharetta, Georgia, based on Fries’ and Keith Whitfield’s book, “Islam and North America: Loving our Muslim Neighbors.” Nearly 40 attended in person and roughly 300 individuals and locations joined by simulcast.

“If you ask the average American Christian to tell us what percentage of the U.S. is Muslim,” said Fries, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “The vast majority give you a number from 10, 15, even 20%. The truth is it’s 1%. Projections estimate it will grow to 2.1% by 2050.”

That statistic is one example of the misconceptions about Islam that tend to generate fear and confusion and prevent Christians from loving their Muslim neighbors well, Fries said.

The anxiety that regularly appears in the media spurred Fries and Whitfield, associate professor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, to compile their book.

‘Create a conversation’

“Our desire is to create a conversation to help people see and become aware of an opportunity” and encourage them to seize the opportunity to reach their Muslim neighbors, Whitfield said ahead of the conference.

Topics ranged from the benefits of more multi-faith dialogue, clearing up misunderstandings about Islam, the need for religious liberty for all faiths and methods for sharing the gospel with Muslims.

Fries, who has led his church to reach out to the Muslim community in Chattanooga, has seen several Muslims come to Christ. He also emphasized Christians should not simply view the Muslim community as a project.

“We’re not doing this just because we want people to come to Christ. We value individuals whether they come to Jesus or not,” he said. “We want them to know that we value you as created in the image of God.” (BP)

How to Pray:

  • Pray Christians will continue to show God’s love to Muslims and seize the opportunity to encourage them and start conversations about Christ. 
  • Pray Muslims across the country and the world will experience the hope of the gospel and turn to Christ. (TAB)