by a Pioneers-USA writer
Until recently, a significant barrier preventing Muslims on the Indian subcontinent from following Jesus was simply that they had never read the New Testament.
Over the past few years, however, an Islamic television station broadcast from Mumbai, India has been broadcasting a lot of specifically anti-Christian propaganda questioning the reliability and consistency of the Bible and basic Christian doctrines.
The station’s main personality is a charismatic preacher named Dr. Zakir Naik, who has a remarkable memory but frequently uses untrue statistics and facts to promote fundamentalist Wahabi Islam. Yet with the vast majority of India’s Muslims, many of whom are semi-literate or cannot check his information, he has a rock-star like aura as a champion of Islam.
Naik is famous for taking quotations out of context, for using false statistics, and for making outrageous claims he could not back up if challenged—such as wife swapping being common in the West and the Bible saying Jesus was not crucified. But since he has refused to debate his challengers—many of whom are Muslims—directly, a defense of Christianity with widespread distribution is needed.
It was with this challenge in mind that “Jay,” a Pioneer, and his fellow workers set out to make a video defending Christ and his teachings. Existing apologetics works are quite offensive to Muslims and therefore unusable. To reach such an unwilling audience, an entirely new project would be required. This video defense of Christianity is set to be translated into English, Bengali, Urdu, French, and Arabic, and will be hosted by two former Muslims, showing great respect for Islamic culture while still upholding the truth. The video intends to demonstrate that God’s word cannot be corrupted, and that the words in the Bible tell us exactly who Jesus was and is.
Nabeel Qureshi, the video’s first host, is a man of Pakistani origin who came to know Christ as a result of his investigation into apologetics issues. Jay describes him as “a gifted debater and speaker.” The other host, Faouzi Arzouni, is an Arab pastor whose age and cultural background will gain him respect among young Indian Muslims. Together, they hope to answer Zakir Naik’s polemics against Christianity, addressing issues such as supposed contradictions in the Bible and Jesus’ deity and crucifixion.
Jay hopes the video will serve to answer many of the burning questions Naik has left in the minds of young Muslims and Christians alike on the Indian subcontinent. Pray that the video will be a powerful tool in the hands of skilled workers to lead many to Christ in the Muslim world.