Posts tagged ‘Orma’

February 1st, 2012

Wycliffe/SIL’s Gamble with Integrity Grieves Me

I am grateful for Wycliffe/SIL, two “reputable” Christian organizations, which have done a lot for me, as a Christian from one of the unreached people groups, the Orma people of Kenya. I am especially thankful for Wycliffe/SIL missionaries George and Wendy. Had it not been for their meticulous and diligent work, my native language, Orma, would not have been written and I wouldn’t be reading portions of the Word in Orma today.

I was a member of a literacy team that met in February 1995 for a literacy conference that was hosted by World Vision (Tana River District), Wycliffe/SIL missionaries, Literary and Evangelism Fellowship and Literacy and Evangelism International. The conference was held at PCEA Makupa Guest House, in Mombasa, Kenya. It was at this conference my native Orma language was written for the first time. If it weren’t for the Wycliffe/SIL missionaries and missionaries from other agencies, I wouldn’t be writing in Orma today.

Having said that, there is a problem right now. A gargantuan one. And these two organizations, which have meant so much to me, have not taken any concrete steps toward remedying issue of mistranslations of Scripture geared toward Muslims. There is a plethora of evidence to show Wycliffe/SIL linguists, missiologists and translators pandered to Muslims and removed “Father” and “Son” from new Bible of translations. These supposedly reputable Christian organizations are dangling off a cliff. Their personnel responsible for this fiasco need to be rescued from God’s Wrath.

A staff member of these organizations, Moses Gingerich, contacted me yesterday. He wrote, “It seems that if you have such a good relationship with SIL/Wycliffe perhaps you should have read what is posted on their website at (SIL link). If you are indeed a Christian I applaud you. But please check with the source first for articles that could be misconstrued.” [Emphasis mine.]

Mr. Gingerich is fully convinced a 300-word statement released yesterday from SIL/Wycliffe debunks damaging allegations that abound. The 300-word release has two problems. First, it does not answer a single question from the 16-page Fact Check from Biblical Missiology. Second, it does not address any allegations mentioned in the petition, WND article or my Yahoo! News article. The release essentially reiterated Wycliffe/SIL’s position on translations. Nothing was new other than the question in the opening statement. Wycliffe/SIL posed its own question and answered it then copied and pasted its mission statement.

I have evidence of Wycliffe/SIL editing materials online, expurgating damaging information and even expunging at least one document. Here are a few changes Wycliffe/SIL have made, most recently, since the publication of news articles:

  • The statement on filial terms has changed numerous terms, which even has caught the eye of a Yahoo! News reader, Bbabel, who quipped, “I think you got it backwards, the date on this article is Jan 27th, the date on the two internet blogs that I can find say Jan 29th. It seems those other locations are using this as their source material. But perhaps I’m missing something.” Where is the integrity? Even Yahoo! News can verify I never edited the article once it was published. It grieves me an organization as reputable as Wycliffe/SIL take integrity lightly.
  • Wycliffe Global Alliance issued a statement on contextualization in 2011 which originally stated, “Our [Wycliffe] goal is not to “convert people” from one religion to another or to “make people understand.”” You are reading that correctly. I posted a link of that statement on my Facebook page on October 25, 2011 found HERE and also discussed it on a private forum with more than 200 other Christians who are in active ministry to Muslims in North America. Some of them teach in colleges and seminaries. Within weeks of our discussion, the part where it stated it wasn’t Wycliffe’s goal “to make people understand” disappeared. An organization, which prides itself to reach the unreached in the world with the Word God in their own language did not have a goal to translate the Word of God in a way it is understandable. What an oxymoron. In fact, Wycliffe defended this position when it was initially challenged and only relented when it became very clear that statement was problematic.

Why is this issue so important to me? First, these organizations helped me and my people group have access to God’s Word. The stakes are too high for them to fail. Second, Muslims already use the Jehovah’s Witness’ New World Translation, attempting to attack the divinity of Jesus Christ. In these Wycliffe/SIL and Frontier’s translations, Jesus is Messiah—which means a created being in Islam. To a Muslim he is not the Son of God. Can you believe what would happen if a Muslim apologist shows up on Al-Jazeera with a copy of these erroneous translations of the Bible? It wouldn’t be much of an argument because he would invoke the Bible as Wycliff/SIL and or Frontiers produced and Christian apologists would have no answer.

Folks, doing nothing is not an option. Pray for Wycliff/SIL and Frontiers leaders to come to their senses. Join this coalition. We will not rest until these organizations retract the Bible already in print and jettison the plan to have further translations that oust “Father” and “Son” from the Trinity.

I am waiting on more evidence that shows yesterday’s statement is a mere red herring and it amounts to naught. I will contact Wycliffe and SIL for their comments on discrepancies on their statements. God bless you!

December 17th, 2010

Christian Outreach to Muslims this Christmas

It was the week before Christmas 1988. One of my former teachers, Mr. Buya, invited me to go to his home for Christmas. Even though I was a Muslim and did not celebrate Christmas, I traveled to his village. I still believe he had invited me with intent not to proselytize me.

Mr. Buya is a Christian from the Pokomo tribe—a “Christian” tribe, which has had dueling feuds with my Orma tribe for a few hundred years. (The Ormas were considered 100 percent Muslim.) They always fought over land and River Tana access. Though the Kenyan government has never admitted it, these clashes were due to these tribes’ religious differences. Even today Ormas and Pokomos share mutual fear and mistrust. Their feuds have claimed scores of lives. Read BBC reports here and here.

Mr. Buya was not teaching in a Muslim village by choice. The Kenyan government’s Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) posted him there. TSC posts and transfers teachers around the country without any input from them. You probably are wondering, considering the possible danger to Mr. Buya, why he was posted to teach at my village. The sad truth is there was no Orma who was qualified to be a primary school teacher at that time because early Muslim “missionaries” told my tribe it was wrong to get secular education. After all, they argued, secular education was for ilmu dunia, knowledge of the world. Instead, they insisted Orma children should attend madrassa where they gained ilmu akhirat, the knowledge of the hereafter.

Many other Kenyan Muslims also enrolled their children only in Islamic religious schools until the government mandated secular education. Even today most Kenyan Muslims in predominantly Muslim areas don’t take secular education seriously. The Kenya National Examination Council examination results don’t lie. I only was enrolled in a secular school because of the government mandate. I attended both madrassa and the secular school for five years until I graduated from the former.

Visiting Mr. Buya’s family for Christmas changed my perception of the Pokomos and Christians. They showed tremendous respect for my beliefs and even asked me to slaughter a goat they had bought for Christmas since as a Muslim I could not have eaten the meat had one of them slaughtered it. Their character was also different from Muslim leaders’ portrayal of Christians. All the negative stereotypes I had heard of the Pokomos and Christians were gone with one visit. I am grateful for that Christmas invite because it marked the beginning of a change in my life. If you would like to hear the rest of the story (my testimony), please listen to it here.

Hospitality: Christmas is almost here. There are many Muslims who wouldn’t decline our invitation to show hospitality. They might decline our invitation to attend a worship service but I doubt they would refuse to come for a meal. The Bible says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Millions of Muslims live in Christian majority countries now and do not even know who Christians actually are. Muslims are here to stay. They are our neighbors, doctors, classmates or even taxi drivers. Most of what they know about Jesus, Christianity and Christians is from the Qur’an and the Hadith and what their Muslim leaders tell them. Most of them view Christians as very evil people who believe in three gods—father, mother and son. Do you know this is the most heinous sin in Islam? What is wrong with us opening our homes to Muslims? They can benefit from a little hospitality, which might end up positively changing their lives for eternity.

Most colleges and universities in the United States have Christmas break starting this week. Campus residencies will be closed except to international students. This is can be an opportunity to show hospitality.

Reach out: Opportunities to serve Muslims are endless. A lady recently shared with me about her experience. She was always curious about her Muslim neighbors. The Muslim wife and her daughters rarely ventured out of their home. One day, this Christian woman decided to deliver some baked goods to the Muslim family. Within hours, the Muslim family reciprocated with some baked goods of its own. These two families have now become friends. Some Muslim women are not allowed to leave their homes without the company of their husbands or male relatives or their permission. Women are the least reached among Muslims. Christian women can do outreach to them with ease.

Host family: Many Muslim international students come from countries which are “closed” to Christian outreach. Why don’t we offer to show these students around town or take them out to eat or shopping for school supplies, invite them over for meals or even offer to be their host parents? Do you know colleges look for potential host parents for their international students?

Literature: Give copies of the Bible in native languages if they are available. Most Muslims have not seen the Bible, let alone read one in their own language. You can find the Bible in various languages online. Please tell them where to start reading. I remember very well when I received my first copy and no one told me where to start and I started with Genesis.

Respect: Mr. Buya and his family respected my beliefs. We don’t get very far in our outreach to Muslims if we don’t respect their beliefs. If they ask questions, answer them gently from the Bible. We should always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have and we should do it with “gentleness and respect.”

I am very grateful Mr. Buya invited me to his home for Christmas in 1988. Had the Ormas not fallen to the ruse of Muslim missionaries who secretly took their children to secular boarding schools, Mr. Buya probably would not have become a teacher in my village. God had a plan. He even used these missionaries’ egregious act for his good. Please, take a step this Christmas and show hospitality to a Muslim or any unbeliever. You never know! The Ormas were considered 100 percent Muslim, now they are only 99.98 percent Muslim. Praise God!

Hussein Wario is a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim. He is the author of Cracks in the Crescent. He blogs regularly. You can listen to his testimony here.

June 29th, 2010

Liberty University Should be Lauded

The past two months have been one of the hardest times of my life as a Christian. It has been gut-wrenching to read about ex-Muslims being attacked by Muslims and some Christians alike. I had some sleepless nights because I could not fathom how some Christians could give Muslims a platform. Not especially when they knew Mohammad Khan has declared his war on other ex-Muslims, indiscriminately raising doubts about their past merely based on “absolutes” in Islam, their accents of Arabic (Islamic) terms and their non-Islamic (Arabic) names even when he had no prior knowledge of their background. I still don’t understand how Christians fell for such a ruse.

Liberty University committee investigating Dr. Ergun Caner’s background has concluded its findings and the final decision has been made. He is going to relinquish his post as president and dean of the seminary but remain on as a professor of apologetics. I hope this decision marks the demise of attacks on ex-Muslims and the beginning of healing for us Christians who have been squabbling publicly. I hope we have learned from this ordeal.

I knew from the outset that Mr. Khan was majoring in lies. He was concerned that “Allah’s light” was being extinguished thus employing certain absolutes in Islam that are no absolute after all. Dr. Caner did not help the situation either because he gave opportunities to his critics to raise doubts. I am hoping that we tread on carefully next time similar questions are raised about a Christian brother or sister of Muslim background. The fact that Mr. Khan has other videos of ex-Muslims he accuses of being fake ex-Muslims should be a conspicuous clue that we should take whatever he presents with a grain of salt.

I have a very low opinion of these ex-Muslims bashers. Here are a few reasons. First, when I challenged Mr. Khan’s interpretation of Islam in April, he quickly demanded that I post my findings juxtaposing the Arabic commentary with my interpretation in English. This comes from a man who admitted to a Southern Baptist blog audience in February that he couldn’t read well, let alone understand, Arabic.

Second, I know for a fact that Mr. Khan has not read my autobiography, Cracks in the Crescent, and yet he reviewed and rated it here. Other Muslims have not read it either and still that did not stop them from reviewing and rating it here. Now that tells us about their objectivity in their presentations of any ex-Muslim’s background.

Third, when my asylum petition was denied and it made the Associated Press wire, Mr. Khan and his Muslim friends jumped on it, copying the links to articles on Facebook, other websites and Twitter. (Some Muslims even edited the official AP release and added “due to the many discrepancies in his accounts” to it and then posted it on my book’s fan page masquerading it as part of the original AP article.) How desperate can they get! Mr. Khan had a reason for suspecting that I was a fake ex-Muslim. First of all, my legal name (Wario Zachariah Abarufa Hussein) is different from my penname (Hussein Hajji Wario). Instead of asking for a clarification, he jumped on it declaring me a fake ex-Muslim merely based on my name. For the record, my name has changed through the years. I go by aliases as well. I often misspell my name for security reasons when participating in events or go just by one name. Zachariah is my baptismal name. Abarufa (correctly spelled Abbarufa) is an Orma (my people group) nickname that my mother’s midwife gave to me. I added these names to my official name on April 10, 1995. Hussein is my given name and Hajji Wario was my father’s name. The reverse in the order and the misspelling of Abbarufa happened because a Kenyan government official wrote it that way on my official identification card, perhaps because I could not bribe to get the document, and hence it is stuck legally :) I attempted at least to reverse the order of my name in 1998 when I visited Kenya (which I explained in my autobiography in Chapter fourteen) but I was unsuccessful because some Christians (irony) bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in August 1998. I still have the official U.S. government document (I-20) that I was issued to change my name on the U.S. visa. So, if some concerned Muslims really want to find out who I really am, they are welcome to pay a visit to Kenya. Go to Garsen in the Tana River district and ask for my family. They should also ask Muslim leaders in Mombasa why they have not made their rebuttal to my autobiography public. They had a problem with the opening line of chapter fifteen, “Islam is its own worst enemy…” and were supposed to make their findings public at a press conference after Jumaah (Friday) Prayer on March 20, 2009. I am still waiting.

Fourth, I seriously doubt that Muslims started this endeavor to find the truth but distract and confuse Christians. I know it for a fact because when I wrote a post, “Lack of Absolutes in Islam Fizzles Attack on Ex-Muslim,” Muslims started a rumor on Facebook that my website was spreading a Trojan virus. They were warning people on Dr. Ergun Caner’s fan page not to go to my website. Complains were coming from the same group of Muslims that frequented the page with links deriding Dr. Caner. That virus must have been very selective to attack only Muslim computers! Even when Christians reassured them that there were no viruses, Muslims still maintained their story. Now that tells you how much truth they were seeking in this matter.

Brethren, our lack of restraints has caused irreparable damage to Christian outreach to Muslims. We have made it far worse than Dr. Ergun Caner did. I find it quite disturbing how some of us justified the public discussion and judgment of Dr. Caner while the same call for restraint when it comes to recent public arrest of Christian apologetics in Dearborn, Michigan. Our continued discussion of Dr. Caner simply because Liberty decided against making its report public is not justified. In fact, we should laud Liberty for not availing information that detractors of ex-Muslims could use as a trophy. (Some Muslims are waiting to put an icing on their cake.) The more we discuss this now irrelevant issue, the more irrelevant our ministries will become. Instead, let us employ the same fervor and vigor we exhibited in our discussion of Dr. Caner in our outreach and evangelism efforts. We must overcome our manmade theological differences. The time for healing division among Christians has come.

To read the first four chapters of Cracks in the Crescent on Google Books, click here.

February 9th, 2010

About Me

I am a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim who was educated in madrassa (Islamic religious school) during my formative years. (Hussein is my given first name, the name I received at birth. Hajji Wario was my father and he passed away on Wednesday, June 17, 1987. In madrassa I used to go by Hussein Hajji Wario. I legally go by Wario Hussein because the order of my name reversed with additional names added in April 1995.) Upon graduation from madrassa, I became a madrassa teaching assistant and a muadhin (a person who calls Muslims to pray) in my hometown, which is near Garsen. I converted to Christianity in August 1989 when I was 14 years old. My people group, the Orma, is one of the “unreached” people groups in the world because more than 99.98 percent is Muslim. I am only the second Orma to convert to Christianity.

My family found out about my conversion through my Muslim schoolmates at a boarding school six months later. Subsequent persecution resulted in the Kenyan government representative in my home area giving a final directive that led to my separation from my family in May 1990. I stayed in different parts of the country with various Christian families from different people groups and nationalities for about six years until I came to the United States in August 1996. I graduated from Hope College in 2000.

My faith journey is featured in my autobiography, Cracks in the Crescent. It discusses some esoteric aspects of Islam by conspicuously illustrating them throughout my upbringing as a Muslim, my conversion to Christianity and the ensuing persecution. It utilizes the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, the Hadith, to make its case.

Portions of my conversion story and the subsequent persecution have been featured in a 1998 book, The Call of Africa; the Grand Rapids Press in October 1996; a nationwide radio broadcast through Radio Bible Class (RBC) Ministries’ weekend program Words to Live By in the United States, Canada and in some select countries in October 2003; and a reformed semi-monthly magazine the Standard Bearer in September 2006. I have shared my story with churches, schools, colleges, and Christian groups in Kenya and the United States.

I live to give glory to the Lord for saving me from among my people. I am grateful, among many things, for His protection from my detractors. I believe that the Lord has called me to be an encouragement to His church and also be an instrument in mitigating difficulties it faces in understanding Islam and reaching out to Muslims. Please email me at info@husseinwario.com or call me if you have any question on Islam or if you would like me to speak at any of your events. Thank you.

My autobiography, Cracks in the Crescent, is available for purchase. Free shipping. Offer ends Friday, December 31, 2010.