I met Kamil Mufti when we were doing some presentations on religion at Bradley University a couple of years ago. Kamil is the resident scholar at the largest mosque in Peoria, which happens to be located directly behind our Knoxville campus.
After getting to know each other at Bradley, Kamil and I began to meet privately to talk about some of the differences between Christianity and Islam and to discuss some of the misunderstandings and assumptions that each of our religions has toward the other.
One of the fruits of these conversations was an invitation from Kamil to teach a few classes on Christianity at the mosque in order to help their members better understand what Christians believe and to answer questions they might have. In those classes I was given unrestrained freedom to teach the truth of the gospel and to present the tenets of Christianity without watering down the truth of God's Word. This was a great experience for me and for those who participated.
Over the past few years, our church leaders have shared a private meal with the leaders of the mosque, and I have continued my friendship with Kamil. This does not mean we agree on the nature and person of Jesus—because we don’t. But I believe that Christ calls us to live at peace with (Romans 12:18), show respect to (1 Peter 2:17), and exercise agape love towards (Matthew 5:44) everyone, even those we have disagreements with.
It is within this context that I offer this heartfelt letter from Kamil--Letter ISIS.pdf. His letter clarifies the position of our local mosque toward ISIS. It also shares a much broader view of what mainstream Muslims believe about ISIS as well.
I realize some people may choose not to believe the words written in this letter, but based upon my relationship with Kamil and others at the mosque, I believe this is a sincere representation. I hope it fosters a better understanding of how most Muslims view extremism and terrorism.