On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack fueled by religious extremism changed America. In the last 18 years, 9/11 has shaped Americans’ perceptions of the Middle East, Muslims, and the Arab people.
In 2016, The New York Times reported how hate crimes against American Muslims increased to the highest levels since the attack. For the most part, Arab Christians in the Middle East have also felt forgotten by their brothers and sisters in the United States.
Stories From the Arab World
Kris Kuhlman is an American working with Program for Theological Education by Extensions (PTEE) in Jordan. She is using stories of her experiences to raise awareness of the Arab Church and chip away at some possible misperceptions of the culture in the Middle East.
Earlier this year Kuhlman returned to U.S. soil and spent time traveling to various states, churches, small groups, and more to share about PTEE’s *work. Kuhlman notes she encountered misperceptions about the Middle East, mostly relating to relationships.
For example, specifically focusing on Jordan, Christians are a religious minority in the country. The term Christian often references a non-Muslim. It is a cultural classification people are born into, and it is marked on an individual’s identification card.
“It’s not just your religious identity, but it’s your cultural and your family identity. It will determine where you go to school. It will determine maybe even who you marry, so many things about your life. But what the term Christian does not necessarily mean, in the Arab world, is that you are a follower of Jesus Christ,” Kuhlman explains.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Bethann Flynn