I read your March 7 article titled, “Speaker series promotes Islamic awareness” with great interest. This year’s Islamic Awareness Series certainly added to my understanding of the Muslim world view, especially its perspective on Christianity.
I was particularly intrigued by Hisham Mahmoud’s lecture, “The Gospel of Jesus according to Muhammad,” presenting the Islamic perspective of Jesus’ role and story as a prophet. Tech’s Muslim Students Association claimed that this Islamic rendition of the person and work of Christ “spells promise for mutual understanding among the faith traditions of Abraham… and is enough to treat centuries of conflict among his children.”
However, in an attempt to establish affinity between Islam and Christianity, Mahmoud failed to acknowledge that on every doctrinal dimension, the Qur’anic view of Christ diverges from the Biblical view.
With selective, often de-contextualized references to the Bible (essentially “cut and paste” theology), Mahmoud took historical characters and events from millennia of Biblical history, and compressed the chronology to craft a seemingly impressive narrative, which lends Biblical credence, to demonstrate conformity between the two religions.
In addressing Christianity’s cardinal doctrines such as the divinity of Christ or the Virgin birth, Mahmoud undermined every defining doctrine and posited a very different Islamic alternative.
Although claiming that the differences between the two religions are negligible, Mahmoud’s presentation only accentuated the differences. The Islamic view of Christianity calls for a radical reinterpretation of the Bible through the Qur’anic lens. Clearly, the Qur’anic view of Christ denies his deity, denounces his eternality, and defies his redemptive purposes as the Messiah.
I really believe that in our attempt to find common ground and promote harmony on campus and beyond, we must be intellectually honest and not try to obliterate genuine differences between belief systems.
Regardless of personal allegiance to a particular religion, either by choice or circumstance, the differences between conflicting world views should be addressed candidly, so that attempts at fusion do not result in confusion.
The test of mutual acceptance comes not through the denial of differences, but in our willingness to coexist peacefully in the face of irreconcilable differences.
Dr. Beena Bhal
Clough will be missed by students and alums alike
My wife and I came to know Wayne Clough very well during his tenure and that friendship will always endure.
He was always approachable and looking for ways to make GT even better than it is. These will be big shoes to fill but I know Tech is up to the challenge. To Wayne and Ann, we wish you well at the Smithsonian and know they, like Tech, will be a better institution by your presence.
Bruce and Deborah Warnock
Class of 1958