Posts tagged ‘Emir Caner’

July 13th, 2010

Dr. James White’s Damage to Christian Outreach to Muslims

The merit of the discussion about Dr. Ergun Caner has come to who screams the loudest. His vocal critic has declared victory because he claims that the defenders of Ergun Caner have “gone silent since his removal as Dean of LBTS.” What a sad assessment, considering most Christians in this veiled reference have let go this issue because they have decided to move on! Dr. James White calls for Dr. Caner’s public apology. How about he sets an example and takes ownership for the damage he has done to Christian outreach to Muslims? He publicly has insulted Muslims who have corrected his mistakes on Islam. He also has speculated on issues that have “confirmed” Muslims’ suspicion of Christian ministries’ motives and exacerbated “residual mistrust” that some Christians of Muslim background have of Christianity. Some Muslims, like the ones who have reacted negatively toward Acts 17 Apologetics missionaries in Dearborn, MI, suspect Christians use their pictures and videos for Christian missionaries’ fundraising efforts. (You can listen to Josh McDowell’s interview on Moody Radio about his experience at the Arab festival here.) Even some who convert to Christianity still remain suspicious. Their mistrust keeps them out of worship services, Bible study and fellowship with fellow Christians.

Most of Dr. White’s damages could have been avoided had Christianity Today met his expectation in its initial article on Dr. Ergun Caner. Since he wasn’t satisfied, he speculated that Liberty University is its main advertiser—even when it is false—thus exacerbating some Muslims’ mistrust of Christian organizations. CT is not “a profit-driven” media organization like he wants people to believe. He has yet to retract his comments. He has, without any doubt, tarnished CT and LU’s reputations among Muslims and confused some Christians of Muslim background’s of Christian organizations. Instead of continuing to demonize Dr. Caner, Norm Geisler, Emir Caner et al, it is about time that Dr. White takes ownership for the damage he has done and does what he has been “preaching” Dr. Caner to do all along. Anything short of it remains sheer hypocrisy.

June 14th, 2010

James White and his “Reformed” Efforts Examined

Insha’Allahname withheld” will continue to learn about Islam & become Muslim Insha’Allah,” wrote a Muslim in reaction to a link Mr. Mohammed Khan of “fake ex-Muslims dot com” posted on Dr. Ergun Caner’s Facebook fan page on Sunday, June 6, 2010. [Insha'Allah means "God willing" in Arabic. Inset and emphasis mine.] You probably are curious to know who Muslims wish would become a Muslim. They are not involved in this saga in vain. He is none other than Dr. James White. The link was to a post on Alpha and Omega Ministries’ website. I have discussed how desperate Muslims are at spreading Islam in the United States. Apparently some Reformed Christians don’t get the point. One of them even said, “Regardless of what Ergun Caner has done, it does not change eternal truth in what God has done. Muslims laugh as do Christians.” I partly agree—we cannot change God’s will—but the lack of restraint is nauseating.

Some of these Reformed Christians have asked me on Facebook, twitter and comments on my blog, begging me to quit standing beside my fellow Christian of Muslim background, Dr. Ergun Caner. Some of them even argued I would lose credibility. I have defied their calls solely because there is not a vestige of truth in their claim. Their insults are proof that fidelity to the gospel is not what drives them, but advancing Dr. White’s cause at whatever cost, even to the truth.

Before I get started, I would like to thank Muslims who have helped us Christians to realize that we have a gargantuan problem within the Body of Christ. I apologize to Yahya and Jonathan on behalf of my Reformed Christian brethren who have insulted you. Please, forgive us.

Dr. James White asked me to appear on his radio program, the Dividing Line, to answer some of the “accusations” I had made about him and his ministry. He insisted that I call into his radio program to discuss him publicly. Even a friend of his wrote to me. He had a problem that it only took me six weeks to find inconsistencies in his statements. I was going to write and post about his double speaking last week but decided against it. The call to the radio was supposed to discuss him and his ministry. Please listen and judge for yourself if the rules were followed.

He has gone on record to claim that the Christianity Today article on Dr. Ergun Caner did not go “far enough” because Liberty University is its main advertiser. I called him on his speculation. For example, when Mr. John Kennedy of CT called on April 22 to interview him about the saga, he praised him on the Dividing Line as an experienced reporter who had written “over 1000 articles.” And when the article did not meet his expectation, he was quick to speculate on the advertisement and he ran away with it. He claims CT is a for-profit organization and it risked losing ad money had the reporter covered everything he had said in the interview. He defended his speculation on the radio. He insisted that he was not defaming Liberty University, John Kennedy or Christianity Today. I was bothered by his claim and decided to contact Christianity Today. What I discovered is shocking. Liberty University is not even in the top “100 CT advertisers.” Contrary to Dr. White, it is a non-profit and you can find its IRS information here and its Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability records here. I am in shock that the Diving Line has officially become the Dissing Line not only of Christians but also of reputable Christian organizations. Is Dr. White going to apologize for ruining these reputations? When I asked him where his speculation fit in Ephesians 4:29, he retorted in a tweet, “Before I block you, I must say thank you as well: your unwillingness to answer direct and honest questions was very telling.”

Dr. White’s Christian fans believe everything he says about Islam. They would rather take his word on Islam than a Muslims’. For those who are unaware, he made what I call a “parody” video of Dr. Caner’s pronunciation of Arabic words. I urged Dr. White to refrain from discussing the Caner Brothers. He never listened. Now Muslims have a better reason, which would be a clue to stop but I do not know if he would listen. I wonder if he is accountable to anyone. There is a problem with the video. Some Muslims kindly asked Dr. White to edit the video or put a disclaimer that there is a verse missing. The error is due to a mishandling of Suratul Al-Fatihah, the “first” chapter of the Qur’an. An entire verse was left out when the tutor recited. (The tutor is an Arab Christian and was never a Muslim.) Dr. White joined in the recitation and did not catch the error. The video is now on YouTube. Muslims want it edited because it misrepresents the Qur’an. Apparently, that is too much to ask of Dr. White. He wrote a blog entry about the error, dismissing Muslims’ request as “irrational.” Is this sort of arrogance befitting of a minister of the Gospel? I asked him about it and he tweeted, “Why do you care so much about what irrational people think? I do not understand it.” He and his tutor made a mistake and he does not acknowledge it. Do Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church and Alpha and Omega Ministries have a consistory and board of directors respectively? If they do, something needs to be done about his behavior.

He maintains that the Caner Brothers are fake ex-devout Muslims. Court documents destroy his argument. He has not apologized and it does not look like he will any time soon. He argues that a Christian leader should be “above reproach.” Now he balks at what he has been calling Dr. Ergun Caner to do. Even a legal document, one that was issued more than three decades ago by a county government in Ohio cannot convince him. Are we going to believe this document  or Dr. White who merely pontificates? You be the judge.

Muslims’ attack on Dr. Caner has fizzled but Reformed Christians are striving to keep it in the spotlight. I am fully convinced that nothing would satisfy them to drop some issues. Here is a prime example. There are Muslims who scrutinize everything Dr. White says about Islam. They are keen, especially when he spews his knowledge of Islam to debunk Dr. Caner. Not all his outings have been successful. He made mistakes—with no corrections or apologies—on Islamic teachings, most noticeably prayer in the bathroom. A Sunni Muslim who adheres to Malik Madhaba (school of law) had urged him to stop his charade in March when he first started talking about the issue on the DL. This Muslim man in fact wrote to Dr. White six weeks before I called into DL. He asked him to stop discussing the prayer in the bathroom issue, because it was a non-issue, citing different Islamic fatwa (edicts), which according to Hanafi school of law (which Dr. Caner’s father adhered to) supported prayer in the bathroom. This Muslim even brought up a scenario with Dr. White about an incarcerated Muslim in a cell with no walls separating the bathroom from his living area. Dr. White never listened and continued discussing the issue. He got airtime out of it even after I called into his program six weeks later. He even brought it up last Thursday on DL.

I know Reformed Christians who have written to Dr. White about their concerns in regards to his involvement in this saga, and how he has not acted according to scriptures. Whenever they tried to have him focus, at least examine his own involvement; he always ended up turning the conversation toward the Caner Brothers.

His fans, supporters and colleagues have been asking me about “Hadith 29:82” that he challenged me to identify on DL. Once again, I repeat. I addressed the Hadith issue—which even Muslims do not make an issue—in a previous post on May 15, 2010. I said “there is no “official” way to cite Hadith. The most authentic Hadith collection is Sahih Bukhari. Many times when it is quoted, it comes without the name because it is the most authentic and widely referenced. I have checked some of the aHadith in question and they come from Sahih Bukhari. If there were any errors on the Caner Brothers’ part, it was very minor.” I never said that there was no problem in Unveiling Islam pertaining to how aHadith were cited.  I avoided answering the questions “on-air” because Muslims are some of Dr. White’s biggest fans. His lampooning of any Christian who disagrees with him on any matter draws them. Since I did not have the Hadith books at hand, I did not answer it lest Muslims use the incorrect answer against me. Dr. White is frantically trying to keep the Hadith discrepancies in the spotlight. I should recommend that Dr. White venture out of his self-schooling environment. Only then will he open his eyes to Islamic views that differ from his or meet people who would call him to account. There is more a student gains outside of his or her self-study. A complete library can only take you so far.

A few Reformed radio programs have given some airtime to Dr. White. He continues the same stories. I am convinced beyond the shadow of any doubt that Dr. James White is not participating in this saga to get to the truth but to drag this issue on for personal gain. So far, people who have publicly disagreed with him have been labeled. His fans have targeted them as well. He and his fans blame my “irrationality” on my cultural background. Rich Price, the President of Alpha and Omega Ministries, tweeted about me, “@HusseinWario I am seriously beginning to wonder if you are nothing short of a crackpot.”

I was familiar with the Reformed faith even prior to coming to the United States in 1996. I never heard of Dr. White or his ministry until April 2010. Now that tells you where he ranks as a Reformed theologian. For you Baptist folks, I know we have some theological disagreements but do not look at Reformed Christians through what Dr. White or his friends espouse. Even Reformed people have written to him to ask to stop his campaign. It seems like only his fans (who include Muslims) agree with him that it is biblical to continue this public debate about a brother in Christ. The time has come to ignore Dr. James White as long he continues to promote himself and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have said in the past that he has some underlying problems, which his supporters and fans are oblivious to. I have consulted a few brothers about his situation. Some of what has been said is not fit to share. I have been asked to leave him alone because he does not even get along with his colleagues. The man is never wrong. He, as a smart and prolific Christian theologian should concede some grounds that he is not well versed in, right? Sadly, even his narrow knowledge of Islam through self-study cannot be challenged. I hope he reconsiders his way. He asked for this post and his wish has been granted.

May 15th, 2010

Desperate Muslims Ignorant Christians Part 2

Muslims are desperate to spread Islam. They capitalize on any opportunity they get, even “riding” on Christians’ ignorance to further their message. Do you know that March 2010 was one of the worst months for Islam in recent years? Most Christians don’t know it. Islam is in dire straits. Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Palestinian Muslim, had his autobiography, Son of Hamas published. Muslims are still infuriated about his “new birth.” Please visit the book’s page on Facebook to read their rage and frustration for yourself. Even their lifeline, Answering Christianity Dot Com, has run out of arguments and ideas to throw at Christians. Still, they have outsmarted Christians by employing a red herring in their attacks on Dr. Ergun Caner. While a lot of Muslims were seeking information about Jesus Christ online and looking for Christians to talk to, some of us have been busy on our blogs and webcasts entertaining Muslims who have an agenda.

The Kansas City Star reports that Muslim Public Affairs Council advertised openings for, “A calm, credible voice to soothe Americans’ fear of Islam.” These positions might still be open. Doesn’t this show how desperate American Muslims have become in their efforts to “market” Islam? We Christians don’t see the sign, instead we engage in public name calling. We have been devouring one another with Muslims as our cheerleaders.

My intention to get involved in this public discussion has nothing to do with attacking a Christian. I believe Dr. James White is a man of God, called to proclaim Him just like the Caner Brothers. I would like this public quarrel among Christians to stop. We can spin this discussion whichever way our hearts desire but in the end we will realize that there is no justification for it in the Word of God. Jesus Christ said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6, NIV. Our theological differences do not warrant our attacks on each other. We need to wake up because our arrogance, bias, distractions, divisions, and ignorance are boom for the enemy of the Gospel.

We read information on Mr. Khan’s website “fake ex-Muslims dot com” and watched the videos but do we even question his mission, which is clearly stated in a verse from the Qur’an, 61:8, “They desire to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His Light, though the unbelievers hate it.” Jews and Christians who rejected Prophet Muhammad were charged with attempts “to extinguish Allah’s light.” Do you now see how any Muslim would have a problem with a non-Muslim, especially one who rejected Islam and now exposes it?

Muslims started it with ex-Muslims, now they are taking it a step further in attacking Dr. White. He is already under a Muslim’s attack, being accused of denying “the doctrine of eternal security.” I bet there will be more of these attacks after the dust “settles” on the current discourse. His debates, podcasts, and speeches will be dissected. Muslims are on a mission and we are oblivious.

There is a lot of information to share and I do not want to confuse you with a long post today. I am not defending the discrepancies in Dr. Ergun Caner’s testimony but debunking the claim that the Caner Brothers cannot be experts on Islam. I would like to address the “hadith 9.57” issue that has been a staple for Dr. White’s discussion (Question 20 on his open letter to Liberty University) and deal with Mr. Khan’s accusations next week.

Dr. White appeared on Engaging the World radio program on Thursday and discussed the Caner Brothers’ first book, Unveiling Islam. He spent a great deal of his airtime on their “incorrect” citation of aHadith (plural for Hadith), the first one being on page 19. He highlighted how there are other aHadith, which are quoted the same throughout their book. For your information, there is no “official” way to cite Hadith. The most authentic Hadith collection is Sahih Bukhari. Many times when it is quoted, it comes without the name because it is the most authentic and widely referenced. I have checked some of the aHadith in question and they come from Sahih Bukhari. If there were any errors on the Caner Brothers’ part, it was very minor. A side note: Mr. Khan read through Unveiling Islam and if this argument about the “incorrect” citation of the Hadith were an issue, with them being galore, he would have jumped on it. I bet he is very smart and stayed out of it. Here we are grappling with it.

I have Hadith hardcopies at my disposal and it took me only a few minutes to find that “hadith 9.57” is from Sahih Bukhari and if the Caner Brothers had wanted to make it clearer it should have read “Bukhari hadith 9.57″ or “Bukhari 9.84.57” or “Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57.” You can tell there is more than one way to cite Hadith.

I prefer to quote the same Hadith “Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57,” because Muslims have always challenged my assertions of Islam and I do not want to give them a foothold, especially when they are suspicious of even the objectivity of my work. Sahih Bukhari has 9 volumes and when it is quoted, there is an option to leave out the Book Number, which was the case for the Caner Brothers.

Dr. White has been raising doubts about how an ex-Muslim and now an expert of Islam could make such an egregious mistake, an equivalent of an evangelical Christian quoting John 3:16 as Bible 3:16. He believes that there is only one “correct” way to cite “hadith 9.57,” which should be “Bukhari hadith 9.57.” He should have verified prior to airing his views. That would have averted the introduction of Bible 3:16 to our vocabulary. He is not justified to disparage the Caner Brothers solely based on his Islamic library, which surprisingly contains only books that cite Hadith a particular way.

There are other books in print that quote “Bukhari hadith 9.57” as “hadith 9.57” or “hadith 9:57.” If you can’t believe it, Google Books can answer your question. Please type these two options and read for yourself. Also, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law Nashville: (Thomas Nelson, 2008), 231, uses the same Hadith and quotes it “hadith 9:57.” The same applies to a Pakistani Muslim scholar Maulana Muhammad Ali who quoted “Sunan Abu Dawud Volume 1 Book 1 Number 55” as (1.1.55). I do not see an attribution anywhere and if you want to read it, it is in public domain here. A Manual of Hadith Index (Public Domain, 1944), 40. Mark you; Sunan Abu Dawud ranks below Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim and no Muslim made a fuss about this famous scholar just citing (1.1.55).

Unveiling Islam was not written for a scholarly audience. This book received great editorial reviews. The audience is evangelical Christians. I bet most of them do not even know what Hadith is. Hence, a trivial matter which is not worth arguing over unless of course someone has an agenda.

Dr. White’s preferred way of citing Hadith, “Bukhari hadith 9.57,” had one mention in the Caner Brothers’ Unveiling Islam, page 249. I do not recall him saying on Engaging the World radio appearance that the brothers had cited Hadith “correctly” at least once. So, I asked him if he would issue an apology or correction and his response, “Your bias and irrationality is difficult to understand. Amazing double standard. Open your eyes.” I was just trying to point out to him that his preferred way to cite Hadith made it in their book. He should have acknowledged it on the national radio or apologize for the generalization. Instead, he blogged about my “irrationality” and blamed it on my cultural background. You can read his blog entry here.

Muslims are on a mission, please let us not aid and abet to their tactics that attempt to discredit the Caner Brothers, other Christians of Muslim background, Dr. James White, et al. We should give our brothers the benefit of the doubt before going global with what Muslims bring to our attention. We need to become aware of the desperate tactics Muslims employ even attempting to discredit the Bible, Jesus Christ, and etcetera. It is my prayer that this controversy surrounding the Caner Brothers ends according to the guidelines set forth in the Word of God. I hope we have learned from our “giving” and “throwing” of “what is sacred” to unbelievers. We have seen its ramification. Let us seek a biblical ending!

May 12th, 2010

Desperate Muslims and Ignorant Christians Part 1

As a former Muslim, a convert to Christianity, Reformed and one who Muslims have attempted to discredit as an ex-Muslim, I struggle with this war against ex-Muslims, which Muslims instigated and Christians are perpetuating and perfecting. Some Christians have accused me of “skirting” around the issue surrounding Dr. Ergun Caner because I have not “publicly” stated my stance, while in fact I have. Others have accused me of lying. One person even went to the extent of posting a comment “on my behalf” using my name and URL on the Christianity Today website attempting to ruin my credibility. (Thanks to CT for investigating and taking action!) This has become an emotionally charged and a very serious matter!

The way the attacks on Dr. Caner have played out is mind-boggling to Christians who are involved in outreach to Muslims. I am a part of a network of 200 plus professionals and laypersons that is directly involved or facilitate outreach to Muslims in Canada and the United States. So far, everyone I have talked with is glad that Liberty University carried out its initial investigation sans the comments Dr. Elmer Towns made in the Christianity Today article. There is a second investigation in progress and let us keep Liberty University and all those involved—including Dr. Caner and his family—in our prayers.

My fellow Christians, Muslims and their sympathizers—I am not implying any Christian here—want this issue to drag on, and anything short of a public apology from Dr. Caner, possibly with an audio or video available, is an unacceptable to them. Since they have a lot of time and possibly money invested in this endeavor, they want to put an “icing” on their cake with evidence. It is unbiblical that this issue is being “juried” and judged” on blogsphere, with Muslims as some of the jurors and judges.

This issue would not have gained any traction had Dr. James White and Dr. Ergun Caner been in good terms. I have met neither of these men but have spoken once to Dr. White on the Dividing Line. There are a few instances where he has spoken dismissively of Dr. Caner on the radio program. For instance, on April 20, 2010, he said, “I have had no overt fascination with Ergun Caner since then,” just because the debate in 2006 [podcast track 21:50-24:35] failed to materialize.

I emailed him with my concerns soon after the program had aired; bringing to his attention some of the charges he had discussed on-air regarding Dr. Caner observing Muslim prayer in a high school bathroom. When he failed to respond, I called into his radio program because he had blogged that he was going to discuss Dr. Caner again and would be taking calls. He dismissed [podcast track 43:45-45:50] the scripture (Galatians 6:1-2) in regards to his discussion of Dr. Caner on-air and told me that it did not apply because he had to go public with the story due to Dr. Caner’s failure to answer his questions and Dr. Caner being a public figure.

Dr. White must have had this issue on his mind for quite some time because he misconstrued what I had said regarding how, while interacting with the audience, I had mispronounced Arabic words or recited the wrong chapter of the Qur’an and he concluded that that just proved his point that the Caner Brothers embellished their testimony, “making things up,” because of the need supposedly was great for expert on Islam after 9/11, even terming it “preacher exaggeration” while I wasn’t implying that. I was trying to help him realize that it was possible that Dr. Caner mispronounced Arabic words.

It dawned on me during our discussion that his Muslim scholar friend Shiekk Yasir Qadhi, who had emailed him, would give the benefit of the doubt to Dr. Caner and wouldn’t draw a conclusion because he did not know if his prayer rug was waterproof. That was when I realized that Dr. White has an underlying problem, perhaps beyond these accusations of Dr. Caner being a liar.

I am a Reformed Christian and I am utterly ashamed of Dr. White. In my opinion, he is a disgrace to the Reformed faith—sola scriptura—because of his meddling in this matter and his disregard of the scripture. He is tacitly helping Muslims with their war against Muslim converts to Christianity. He even is going a step further in perfecting it by discussing Dr. Emir Caner on-air yesterday. His main issue with Emir is that he “erroneously” stated that Jesus was mentioned in the Qur’an 93 times [podcast track 52:00-56:00].  Would that prove him as a fake expert on Islam when he was quoting John Esposito, Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies and the director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, who says, “Jesus is referred to in ninety-three verses of the Quran” (The Oxford History of Islam, pages 306-307)?

Carl Medearas says in his book Muslims, Christians, and Jesus, that, “The Qur’an mentions Jesus almost one hundred times…” Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2008, 66.  Does that make Mr. Medearas, the most visible “international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations,” a fake expert on Islam? Jesus is mentioned by name 25 times but he is referred to directly or indirectly “almost one hundred times” in the Qur’an and that does not make one a fake expert on Islam. Muslim scholars read every chapter of Mr. Medearas’ book prior to its publication and concluded that it was “fair” to Islam (page 20). This is one other instance that shows Dr. White has a grudge or jealousy issue, partly due to that scheduled debate that never took place.

The initial issue was whether the Caner Brothers were fake ex-Muslims. None of the evidence has proven that. Court documents have revealed that they indeed were brought up as Muslims. That debunked Muslims and some Christians’ initial assertion. There is even an eyewitness and some of us dismiss him because he has not divulged enough information. They now want us to focus on the lies and inconsistencies in the testimonies but as Christians we should not forget that when any believer—unless some of these Christian critics think Dr. Caner is not a Christian—asks for forgiveness, we believe that he or she is forgiven. Even God forgives and forgets our sins on account of the sacrifice of his beloved Son on the cross. Why don’t we set aside our pride and forgive our brother Dr. Ergun Caner?

Muslims would like to make Drs. Ergun and Emir Caner the “face” of their “fake ex-Muslims” propaganda. It wasn’t just by coincidence that they stumbled upon their testimonies. There are at least 10 different “fake ex-Muslims” videos—mostly based on these converts’ accent pronouncing some Arabic words—on YouTube that do not involve the Caner Brothers. The fact that these brothers are leaders in the Christian higher education is a constant reminder to these Muslims that Islam is under threat. If they weren’t, Muslims would not have resorted to these tactics.