ROANOKE, Va. — Some Muslims in Virginia have expressed offense to local media over a gospel tract that is being distributed by a local church that denounces Islam.
The Bible Baptist Church of Roanoke has been distributing tracts every Sunday in an effort to tell others about Jesus Christ. One tract that has generated controversy is entitled Unforgiven by Chick Publications, and specifically seeks to reach Muslims.
The tract, which is in comic book format, tells the story of a man named Lamont who converts to Islam while in prison and changes his name to Mohammed. His grandmother then seeks to witness to Lamont and tell him that Jesus is the only way. Lamont later turns to a Muslim leader for advice, who tells him that the Koran says that she is his enemy and that he must not let her in his house.
After Lamont kicks his grandmother out of his house when she urges him to turn to Christ before it is too late, she advises him that he has declared Jihad on Jesus.
“So be it!” he snaps back.
The tract then ends with the note that Lamont died six months later, and stood “before the One he hated, the Lord Jesus Christ,” where he was condemned to everlasting punishment.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” it reads, quoting from Acts 16:31.
However, some Muslims in the Roanoke area state that the tract portrays Muslims as being violent are are thereby offended by its content.
“It basically indicated that the people are violent, the religion itself is violent, and the facts in here are not true,” Hussain Al-Shiblawi told local television station WDBJ-TV. “It shows him trying to kill his mother saying, ‘If you weren’t my grandma, I’d kill you where you stand, Allahu Akbar.’”
When asked about the content of the tracts, the pastor of the church, only identified as “Pastor Brown,” said that the church does not create the content of the materials, but only distributes them, and would like to sit down personally with those offended.
Reaction to the matter has been mixed.
“As a Christian, I think we should spread the good news about the gospel, not run down another religion. Shine your light in a positive way and let others make up their own mind,” commenter Rebecca McGinley stated. “These negative messages turn people away from Christ.”
“I’m sorry; I’m offended by the Muslim community being offended by the Christian community,” said commenter Teresa Hiner. “The difference is the people don’t care if Christians are offended and make a great big deal when Muslims and atheists are offended.”
“I see nothing wrong with it,” remarked another commenter. “This is not a hateful message. It’s just the truth, which offends people.”