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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Videos and Other Resources by Mark Durie on Islam

This blog is a bit different from usual. It provides a broader context for my writings on Islam.

There are two aspects to my speaking and writing on Islam.  Some of this is for secular or multi-faith audiences: in such forums I do not assume the audience adheres to or even sympathizes with a Christian worldview. By and large this blog adopts this approach: virtually all my articles on Islam intended a more general audience end up on this blog, where they go out to around 650 people.

Although not assuming a Christian audience, my concerns here are almost always theological, as I seek to make Islamic ideology understandable, and its significance in shaping the behaviour of at least some people, not all of them Muslims.  (My book The Third Choice takes this approach.)  This perspective is important for understanding issues of human rights, war and peace, and human behaviour in general.  Theological illiteracy is one of the crucial disabilities of modern western people in engaging with the world of Islam.

I am an academic by training and background, but a pastor by profession, and I also teach for specifically Christian audiences.  (My other two books Liberty to the Captives and Which God? fit into this category.) Some of this teaching focuses on persecution of Christians.  Other teaching has been concerned with evangelism: for example how to understand Islam in a way that puts presenting the Christian message in context.  Some of this teaching has also been concerned with how to help people of Christian faith who are leaving Islam or who suffer fear of Islam or Muslims.  

I have recently reorganized the videos at At that site is a set of three lectures delivered at Calvin College which many have found useful in explaining Islam. 

On the same web page there are also videos of two lectures presented at Moody Church in Chicago, which speak about persecution of Christians. One of these teaches on 'dhimmitude' and provides prayers for Christians in response to dhimmitude.  Many people of Christian faith have found this an impacting and liberating message (which can also be found in more detail in the book Liberty to the Captives).

There are also links to other audios and videos, including talks at think tanks and for public forums including radio.

I also write on other topics besides Islam, including more general ethical issues, such as abortion, slavery and marriage.  These writings tend to show up on my 'vicar's blog'.

I often preach at the church where I serve, and my sermons are regularly loaded on the church website at  Some are better than others.

Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Rising Sex Traffic in Forced Islamic Marriage

Western nations are facing what has been called an “epidemic” of forced marriages of their young Muslim women. While those who compel young Muslim women and girls into marriages could be charged with human trafficking offences and also in some cases placed on the national register of sex offenders, governments also should target for prosecution all those who are involved in the solemnisation of these illegal marriages.

This article first appeared in the March 2014 edition of Quadrant.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Multiculturalism’s Child Brides

Recent reports of under-age marriages in Australia are evidence that the authorities need to do more to enforce marriage laws in Western nations, and to restrict the practice of unregistered ‘clandestine’ religious marriages, particularly Islamic marriages.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Islam’s Second Crisis: the troubles to come

In What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis charted the decline of Islam in the modern era and the resulting theological crisis for the Muslim world.

Now Islam is going through a second crisis, caused by the repeated failures of revivalist responses to the first crisis.  This second crisis, combined with the cumulative effect of the first crisis, which remains unresolved, will lead to a long drawn-out period of political and social instability for Muslim societies.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Andrew Brown on "Response to A GUIDE TO REFUTING JIHADISM"

Andrew Brown of the Guardian has commented on my response to A Guide to Refuting Jihadism, which was published first on Lapido Media and then in fuller form on this blog.

Brown writes:
Can you dissuade fanatical jihadis using theological argument?
by Andrew Brown (as revised on Feb 10, 2014)
It doesn't really matter whether the fundamentalists are right about the nature of Islam – it's loyalties and peer pressure that drive them.

How much of what jihadis do is religiously motivated? At one extreme are those who claim their beliefs are entirely explained by oppression and reaction to social circumstances; at the other is the view that the Qur'an is a kind of brain parasite, compelling its victims to slaughter. This latter view is still quite popular on the fringes of the right. I'd like to think the view that religion doesn't matter at all has been abandoned entirely but there is bound to be some groupuscule or cult that still clings to it.

More sophisticated versions of the argument continue, though, and there was a fascinating outbreak this week when the Henry Jackson Society published a pamphlet organised by a former jihadi giving theological reasons why jihadi violence is as unjustified as terrorism, and a counterblast saying this would persuade no one, as Muhammad himself had clearly done indiscriminately violent things and the fanatics we are dealing with use only the text of the Qur'an.

Both sides in this dispute know what they are talking about. The Henry Jackson pamphlet comes with a foreword by the remarkable Usama Hasan, who himself fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s; the Christian counterblast comes from an experienced watcher of the jihadi scene.

Read the full article at:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Response to A GUIDE TO REFUTING JIHADISM – Critiquing radical Islamist claims to theological authenticity

This article first appeared with Lapido Media: see here.

The Henry Jackson Society had just launched a guide to rejecting jihadi theologies in Islam, A Guide to Refuting Jihadism by Rashad Ali and Hannah Stuart.  There are also forewords by two Sheikhs, including one from Al-Azhar University, and endorsements from other Muslim leaders.  
Although the appearance of this guide as a welcome acknowledgement that jihadi violence is theologically motivated, its use of Islamic sources is flawed and unconvincing, and there are risks for secular governments in embracing its arguments.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Abrahamic Fallacy

The original of this article was published in the New English Review.

The Abrahamic Fallacy

by Mark Durie (February 2014)
Presented at Ahavath Torah Synagogue, Stoughton, Massachusetts January  9, 2014
and for Children of Holocaust Survivors in Los Angeles, California, January 21,2014
(the video displayed here below)
The Abrahamic Fallacy is the belief that Abraham is a figure of unity for Islam, Christianity and Judaism. 
The phrase “Abrahamic Religions” has become very popular as a cover-term for these three faiths. It is particularly popular among Jewish and Christian progressives on the one hand, and Muslim apologists on the other. The term implies a kind of unity or brotherhood across the three faiths.
More broadly, the term “Abrahamic religions” has become the standard term, both in comparative religions and popular parlance, to refer to the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, in contrast, for example, to Indian religions and East Asian religions.
In essence the claim embodied by the expression is that Abraham is “shared” as a point of common origin by all three monotheistic religions, and naming him as their shared identity is meant to signal that these three faiths are linked together in some kind of theological continuity. 
The expression is in fact used in a variety of ways. Adam Dodds points out that for some, it is simply a cover term for the grouping of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, a kind of functional shorthand without any intended theological content. Others – perhaps the majority of writers – use the phrase to imply some degree of “historical and theological commonality,” perhaps unspecified. For still others the term implies an intimate unity, namely that it is one and the same God who has authored the Bible and the Qur’an, and the same eternal message is presented in both books.
But is the construct of “Abrahamic religion” helpful, or quite the opposite, a bad idea? And specifically, is the multi-faith Abraham the same person found in the pages of the Torah, or is he merely a product of wishful thinking?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Christianity becoming extinct in its birthplace, says Holland

Christianity becoming extinct in its birthplace, says Holland

A Report from Lapido Media

20th September 2013

‘Medieval scale of horror . . . ’  Historian Tom Holland. Photos: Stephen Sizer‘Medieval scale of horror . . . ’ Historian Tom Holland. Photos: Stephen SizerMIDDLE EAST historian Tom Holland told a briefing in London last night that the world is watching the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace.
In an apocalyptic appraisal of the worsening political situation in the region, a panel of experts provided a mass of evidence and statistics for the end of the region’s nation states under the onslaught of militant Islam.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Australian Christian Egyptians Mourn Deaths and Injured During Country's Violent Rampage

Reposted from Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese.  See here.
"We who stand for 80,000 Christian Egyptians in Australia are deeply saddened by events and the tragic loss of life in Egypt on Wednesday. No matter the difference in our political or religious stance, it is unacceptable to see such bloodshed and the destruction of public buildings and churches throughout Egypt," the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Australia, Bishop Anba Suriel and Bishop Daniel said in a joint statement this morning.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on "Twisting Islam to Justify Cruelty" by Paul Sheehan

To the Editor
The Sydney Morning Herald

I am writing to congratulate you on publishing Paul Sheehan's courageous and fair-minded piece "Twisting Islam to Justify Cruelty" (May 27, 2013). There needs to be a conversation about radical Islamic theology and its Koranic foundations.  Sheehan is to be commended for tackling this thorny subject.

Concerning Mohamnmad Abdalla's response "Critical opinion of Islam ignores the fundamental truths", his article is littered with misrepresentations.