The following is a quote from the pastor of a church in our ministry area:
“Islam is a religion of peace and it has been demonized by the likes of Donald Trump and others who play on the xenophobic paranoia of our white brothers and sisters. We welcome the Nation of Islam into the English Avenue community. The Nation of Islam has an excellent track record for taking Black males and ministering to them and giving them a sense of hope and discipline and dignity and introducing them to God through the Muslim faith, and we applaud that.”
We should note here that the Nation of Islam is an American invention, begun in 1930 and led by men such as Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan. It is not traditional Islam, being neither Sunni nor Shiite, but is a militant, black-superiority religion. Its followers worship on Sundays, whereas Muslims traditionally worship on Fridays.
According to the report by an online news outlet, the Nation of Islam leader in Atlanta is planning to put down “an anchor,” stating that, “We are getting ready to build an army over here for real. Ten thousand, think about that.” The location from which he is recruiting his “army” is only several blocks from where we meet. In August, the Nation of Islam had a vocal presence at the anti-drug and pro-law enforcement National Night Out on a weekday evening in the English Avenue community (aka the Bluff), which event was attended by representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, police, and politicians. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there is food distribution from the Headquarters building (with orange cones blocking the right lane so that cars can stop for the food in front of the building). The Nation of Islam has just in the last week or so been fixing up nearby derelict houses that also front that thoroughfare (Joseph E. Boone Blvd.).
When, as an application in a recent sermon, Pastor Frank mentioned the fact that a local preacher is supporting this attempted takeover of the neighbourhood, it was met with loud outcries of disbelief and anger by adult members of our congregation who either live now or have previously lived in the Bluff. Frank had to take a moment to calm the congregation down before continuing.
The sermon (http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=11116211844) was an exegesis of the parable that Jesus told, in which an evil spirit leaves a man but comes back later with seven other demons worse than he is, the result being that the man is far worse off than he had been before. The application of this in terms of the Bluff is that even if the neighbourhood is cleaned up from drugs, that would not solve the more basic problem, which is that something is needed to fill the void when the demon leaves. And that has to be Jesus Christ.
In addition to the Nation of Islam’s new Headquarters of the South, that organization’s Atlanta branch has a Community and Educational Center, which is located in a house right in the heart of the Bluff, just half a block from where we used to gather on the steps of the derelict church building. Meetings are held there at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoons. On an adjacent empty lot, that group sponsors a community vegetable garden.
And just a block away from that old church building, down another street, is a commercial building flying an American and an Islamic flag where, on the last Lord’s Day in December, a couple of Muslims were “preaching” with the use of a loudspeaker system. That location is just two blocks from where we presently meet for worship―so close that we were able to hear the amplified voice though not able to distinguish the words. When Pastor Frank happened to drive by, he saw the two men―with no one gathering with them or apparently listening―and was able to hear the man with the microphone protesting vehemently about how police kill blacks.
It goes without saying that we were surprised but grateful for the visceral reaction from our congregation. The Muslim invasion which, amazingly, began in earnest only a few months ago, is rapidly expanding in range and influence. That, and the lack of resistance to it by most of the Christian churches in the area, continued to be the main topic of conversation following the service. We can only hope and pray that other area residents are similarly discerning. By God’s grace we, also, have been expanding, and although we do not believe that numbers are everything, we have been blessed by a 58 per cent increase in attendance over this past year―from an average of 23.37 in 2014 to 36.96 in 2015.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father but by me”. Not by Allah, not by Mohammed, not by Buddha, not by the pantheon of Hindu gods, not by my own good works. But by Christ alone.
There is a spiritual battle raging in the English Avenue district. Please pray with us that we can proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ so powerfully that the demons will flee and that the message of Christ, and Christ alone, will fill the void.