2 Ways to Reach Out to Muslims Right Where You’re At

Muslims

photo courtesy of IMB.org

A friend who served overseas once told me a story from her recent home assignment. She’d said hello to two Muslims she’d seen walking together on her jog; she saw them in the carpool line where her girls were putting in a semester during their time in the States. She said hello to them, and welcomed them to the U.S.

One of them began crying. We only walk together, she explained. We’re too afraid to walk alone here.

This reminded me, too, of a story a professor had once told me, not long after September 11. My professor frequently went on archaeology digs in Jordan, so recognized the accent of a cashier at a local IHOP–whose face looked uncharacteristically white. My professor quietly spoke to him in Arabic. A tear coursed down the man’s face: He was wearing makeup. After 9/11, he was scared into covering his skin.

Reaching Out

As of May 5, it’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hopefully you’re praying along with us day by day for the 1.8 billion still worshipping Allah, most of whom have yet to hear the beautiful, freeing truth of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah).

But allow us to bring that a little closer to home. One out of 12 children in the UK is raised as a Muslim–a figure that has doubled in the last decade.

Wishing you knew more about how to reach out?

We’ve captured a few ideas in this post on cross-cultural opportunities right in your community–and several of our #BestoftheBestFriday posts. But today, we want to help you share Isa wherever you’re at.

Muslims

photo courtesy of IMB.org

1. Welcome Cards.

Shane Bennett, speaker, author, and blogger about loving on Muslims, shares Joy’s story, gratefully reprinted from ShaneBennett.com.

“I felt sad when I saw increased tension with Muslims in my town.” This is my friend Joy, commenting on her city in Ohio. “I thought, ‘I need to do something good. Some little act to make things better.’”

Can you relate? Our hearts break, but we can’t fix Sri Lanka. There’s no perfect candidate to elect who will make everything cheery and bright. What can a normal person do?

Joy decided to design a simple, lovely card and hand them out to Muslim women. Just like that. No fanfare. No big production or class or organized group (all of which are ok!). Just one woman telling another woman “I’m glad you’re here. If you ever want to talk, I’m here, too.”

Joy again: “I recently gave one to the Egyptian pharmacy tech where we get medicine. When we went back for a refill a month later, she saw me. She said, ‘Wait!’ and ran to the back. Returning, she opened her wallet and showed me the card I’d given her tucked in behind the driver’s license window. She said, ‘I look at it every day and I feel loved.’”

Two days ago, Joy gave one to a Muslim woman in a parking lot. The woman took her hands, looked into her eyes and said, “I love you. No one looks at us the way you do.”

Simple. Good. Doable.

You can see the cards along with a picture of Joy and the first woman to receive one here. How cool would it be to see this idea multiplied ten thousand times over?

Joy says, “It was awkward at first, but now even my kids will say, ‘Mom, there’s a Muslim!’”

muslims

The front side says:

I’m happy you’re here. The diversity you bring to our community makes us better, stronger and more beautiful. I’m thankful for your presence. Welcome.

The back side says (in Arabic):

To my Muslim Sister, I want you to know the I am glad you are here. You are welcome in our America and I stand with you. Your family is my family. Your children are my children and I want love, safety, and opportunities for them just like I want those things for my own children. I appreciate the diversity you bring to our community. Thank you for being here!
Your sister,

If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at: (fill in whatever info you feel comfortable with.)

The front side says:

Welcome. The diversity and honor you bring to our community makes us better and stronger. I’m thankful for your presence. I am happy you are here. 

The back side says (in Arabic):

To my Muslim brother,  I want you to know that I am glad you are here. You are welcome in our America and I stand with you. Your family is my family. I want opportunities, peace and honor for them just like I want those things for my family. I appreciate the diversity you bring to our community. Thank you for being here!

Your brother,

If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at: (fill in whatever info you feel comfortable with.)

Shane writes,

Want to grab some of these cards?

Send me an email and ask for as many as you’d like. Include your address and I’ll pack them up and ship them to you. If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate you also making a contribution to facilitate my work at MRDS. (Millennium Relief and Development Service.) Tell me in your request email how much you contributed. Thank you.

(Don’t miss Shane  Bennett’s post here on 13 Ways Normal Christians Can Show Care for Muslims during Ramadan!)

2. Offer a service they need.

Those transferring to the U.S. have a steep learning curve. They’re navigating doctor’s visits. Paperwork. Public school.

One successful stateside Muslim refugee ministry provides English lessons, driving lessons, baby showers, carpooling, and even Thanksgiving and Christmas meals (provided by local churches) to welcome Muslims into American traditions.

But if it’s just you? (Or you and a handful of recruited friends? Hint, hint.) Start small.

What if you invited a Muslim you met to meet with you for coffee so he or she could practice English?

What if that could become a semi-regular thing?

What if that led to them having dinner at your house, or them joining for Thanksgiving? (Make sure the turkey is halal, m-kay?)

What if you offered to give them a few driving lessons, take them to the doctor, or navigate paperwork?

What if you gained the trust to babysit for a child? Or helped stand in the gap for a young woman mourning the loss of her tight-knit community, where her mother might have taught her how to raise her children?

Muslims here in the United States are already open to some degree of cross-cultural change. They’ve been extracted from the communities they’ve known.

How could you surround them with Jesus’ love for the foreigner?

Editor’s post-publication note: Check out this podcast from Christianity Today: “How Christians Can Reach Muslims during Ramadan.”

Help us out. What ideas do you have to love on Muslims in our communities? Comment below!

Like this post? You might like

Start Here: Expanding your Heart for the Nations Where You’re At (Ideas #1-10)

#BestoftheBestFridays: Reaching Muslims

Free Printable Infographic: 10 Ways to Pray for Unreached People Groups

“Reaching the Unreached = Danger” and More Missions Myths Debunked

 

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