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Book calls for "the way of Christ" in meeting Muslims


A timely piece on interfaith dialogue, Anabaptists Meeting Muslims lends a unique voice to confronting barriers between Islam and Christianity.

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April 19, 2005
-by Bethany Keener

Elkhart, Ind.– Ahmed Haile remembers the first time he had mashed potatoes, seated around a table with mission workers Bertha Beachy and Naomi Smoker in Mogadishu, Somalia. This encounter remains vivid to him perhaps not so much because of the strange, mushy food placed before him, but because this was the beginning of a relationship with Mennonites that has now spanned more than 30 years.

Today Haile works as a professor of peace studies at the Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, and has been involved in the peace process in Somalia. Among the essays and reports compiled in Anabaptists Meeting Muslims: A Calling for Presence in the Way of Christ, the latest book on interfaith dialogue published by Mennonite Church publisher Herald Press, is Haile’s piece, “Justice and Reconciliation in the Somali Experience.”

Edited by James R. Krabill, David W. Shenk and Linford Stutzman, Anabaptists Meeting Muslims grew from presentations at an Anabaptist consultation on the Church and Islam in Harrisonburg, Va. in October 2003.

In his forward, Jonathan Bonk, executive director of Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, Conn., calls the book “an expression of hope.”

“As sinners recreated and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can meet Muslims; and in meeting them as servants of the Servant, we can be a presence in the way of Christ,” writes Bonk.

The book contains reflections from Mennonites, practitioners, theologians and several people from outside the Anabaptist community who were invited to join the conversation. Authors include Bertha Beachy, Jonathan Bonk, Donna Entz, Ahmed Haile, Roy Hange, Jon Hoover, Mesach Krisetya, John A. Lapp, Chantal Logan, Bedru Hussein Muktar, Gordon D. Nickel, Lamin Sanneh, J. Dudley Woodberry and many others.

Anabaptists Meeting Muslims is available at Christian bookstores, or can be ordered directly from Herald Press, toll-free: 1-800-245-7894 ($24.99 US, $31.29 Canada).