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God's plan for Muslims includes you

A Muslim shopkeeper from somewhere in the Middle East sitting on a chair in his clock shop (Credit: Trey Hill for East-West Ministries via Flickr)Idris thought about that dream every day. Every single day. It kept him from fully committing to Islam any longer even though it was the only faith he had known for his entire life. The dream is what drove him to seek answers, and it's what drove his devout Muslim family away.

Fifteen years ago, Idris dreamed of Jesus, and for those fifteen years, no one in his Middle Eastern country could tell him much about the Jesus he saw in his dream. So he waited for the answer because he knew it would change his life.

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Is the media being unfair to Israel?

Israel pounds Hamas targets A Washington Post cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly punching a Palestinian baby (Credit: Washington Post/Ann Telnaes) If you love Israel, you're probably frustrated by the way many in the media are covering the current conflict with Hamas.  The number of Palestinian casualties typically leads every story, with little reference to the fact that Hamas positions its missiles in civilian areas to use the population as human shields, escalating the casualty numbers.

One reporter noted that Israel's Iron Dome is protecting its people from many of Hamas's missiles, then quickly moved to images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza with the sympathetic words, "But these people have no such protections."  It is as though Israel is at fault for protecting its own citizens.

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Engaging Muslims starts with understanding

Palestinian men pray in front the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan July 20, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad) We are a nation divided. Divided by political parties. Divided by state borders. Divided by neighborhoods and subdivisions. Divided by race and religion. Divided by socioeconomic status and privilege.

Our pledge of allegiance reads, "One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." But we've found ourselves divided and seeking liberty and justice only for those like us.

In many ways, this divisiveness has seeped into our church culture. We are divided by denomination, worship style, and preferred translation of the Bible. That, too, has created a lack of justice—spiritual justice.

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Muslims are not the enemy

A Muslim man from somewhere in the Middle East gives a slight smile for a photo while children play in the background (Credit: Trey Hill for East-West Ministries via Flickr) Moments have the power to define entire generations. Americans have experienced many such defining moments throughout our history. Moments that connect us together. Moments of joy, and more often, moments of grief.

For my parents, the question was, "Where were you when you heard about Pearl Harbor?" For me, it was, "What were you doing when you heard that President Kennedy had been shot?" And in 2001, a new generation found their question, "Where were you when you heard about the attacks on 9/11?"

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Why Iraq matters

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Stringer) Islamic militants stormed Mosul last week, capturing Iraq's second-largest city.  They robbed banks of hundreds of millions of dollars, burned army vehicles, and opened prison gates.  What did the residents of the city do?  Some greeted them as liberators and threw rocks at retreating Iraqi soldiers.

Two days later, these "liberators" declared that they would govern by harsh Sharia law and began executing police officers and government workers.  Now they claim to have massacred hundreds of captured Iraqi soldiers and are advancing on Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

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