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Islam is one of the major world religions with an estimated 1.3 billion followers worldwide [1]. The name Islam comes from an Arabic term meaning submission, a reference to the central belief that the goal of religion, or of a true believer, is submission to God's will. Adherents of Islam are referred to as Muslims.

Islam teaches that God (in Arabic, Allah) revealed his direct word and commands for mankind to Muhammad (c. 570–632) in the form of the Qur'an (also Koran), and to other prophets (including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus), many of whom are Biblical figures shared with Christianity and Judaism. Despite admitting the ministry of prophets earlier than Muhammad, Islam asserts that the primary written record of God's revelation to humankind is the Qur'an, which Muslims believe to be flawless, immutable, and the final revelation of God.

Islam has been termed one of the three Abrahamic religions, along with Christianity and Judaism. At times, the Bahá'í Faith is also included.

Islam teaches that parts of the Bible have been forgotten, misinterpreted, or distorted by Christians and Jews. Given this perspective, Islam views the Qur'an as corrective of Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Muslims do not hold the divinity of Jesus Christ and his unique salvific role, and the teachings of Islam in this respect have been likened to a compound heresy composed of elements of Arianism, Nestorianism, and Docetism ("...They did not kill him [Jesus] and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them..." Qur'an, 4:157), with some Pelagian and also Monarchianistic (i.e., anti-Trinitarian)] elements.

Muslims hold that Islam is essentially the same belief as that of all the messengers sent by God to mankind since Adam, with the Qur'an (the one definitive text of the Muslim faith) codifying the final revelation of God. Islam views Judaism and Christianity as incomplete derivatives of the teachings of certain prophets—notably Abraham—and therefore acknowledges their Abrahamic roots, whilst the Qur'an calls them People of the Book.

According to the Qur'an Jesus is the Christ, the son of Mary, the Messenger of God. Further, that Jesus was given the Gospel as a Book from God, and Jesus came to confirm the Torah, and also to permit some of what was prohibited upon the sons of Israel for some reasons. It also teaches the Jesus the Christ is a Word from God, and a Messenger sent by Him.

Islam has three primary branches of belief, based largely on a historical disagreement over the succession of authority after Muhammad's death. These are known as Sunni, Shi'ite, and Kharijite.

Orthodoxy and Islam

The rise of Islam presented a major challenge to Orthodoxy. Beginning in the seventh century, major portions of the Orthodox heartlands (in Syria and Egypt) fell under Muslim rule. By the fifteenth century, most traditionally Orthodox lands were controlled either by Muslim or Roman Catholic rulers, with the exception of northeastern Russia (the Grand Principality of Moscow) and the Ethiopian highlands. The Orthodox generally accepted rule by non-Orthodox governments, provided that freedom of worship was guaranteed. In Ottoman lands, governed under the millet system (by which people were grouped by religion rather than nationality), Orthodox bishops also served as Ethnarchs (political rulers of their communities).[1] Ottoman implementation of the devsirme tax system witnessed Orthodox children of the rural populations of the Balkans, the flower of Orthodox Christendom, conscripted before adolescence and brought up as Muslims. As their empire declined, the Ottoman Muslims became decreasingly tolerant of Orthodox Chrstians.

See also

External Links

Human Rights and Persecution of Christians

(Dr. Otmar Oehring is Head of the Human Rights Office of the German Catholic charity Missio. A trial has begun in Turkey of influential people alleged to be part of an ultra-nationalist group, Ergenekon. The court case reveals 86 members, ranging from the Turkish police, army, business, politics, and the mass media, are alleged in a plan to assassinate the Ecumenical Patriarch, along with the murder of two Turkish Christians. Ergenekon members are alleged to have maintained deathlists of people, including Christians with a missionary background. The Malatya murder trial is revealing plausible links between Ergenekon, the "deep state" and the murders.)

Further Reading

Pioneering historical investigation of the genocide of the Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syrian Christians of Upper Mesopotamia during World War I uses primary sources of Turkish, Russian, German, French, and Arabic origin, and oral histories by survivors and their descendants.
(Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, is an Islamic scholar, Semitologist, Orientalist and a Jesuit Catholic Theologian, based in Lebanon).
  • Fr. (Dr.) Theodore Pulcini. Face to Face: A Guide for Orthodox Christians Encountering Muslims. Light and Life Pub Co.
  • George Weigel. Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action. Doubleday, 2007. ISBN 9780385523783
  • Nahed Mahmoud Metwalli. Islam Encounters Christ: A Fanatical Muslim's Encounter with Christ in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Transl. by Gamal Scharoubim. Light & Life Pub Co., 2002. ISBN 9781880971758
  • Philip H. Lochhaas. How to Respond to Muslims. Concordia Publishing House, 1995. ISBN 9780570046776
  • Prof. Efraim Karsh. Islamic Imperialism: A History. Yale University Press, 2006. 288 pp. ISBN 9780300106039
  • Serge Trifkovic. Defeating Jihad. Regina Orthodox Press, 2006. 480pp. ISBN 192865326X
  • Serge Trifkovic. The Sword of the Prophet: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam: History, Theology, Impact on the World. Regina Orthodox Press, 2002. 300pp. ISBN 9781928653110
  • The Orthodox Christian-Muslim Symposium. Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Edited by Fr. N.M. Vaporis. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1986. ISBN 0917651340


  1. Dr. Catharine Cookson, (J.D., Ph.D., 1952-2004). Encyclopedia of Religious Freedom. Published by Taylor & Francis, 2003. pp.313.