After Orlando, Christians eager to learn more about jihad and ordinary Muslims

After Orlando, Christians eager to learn more about jihad and ordinary Muslims

In the Florida city where the nation’s worst mass shooting occurred, sessions on ‘Understanding Islam’ draw crowds.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ORLANDO, Fla. —Months ago, organizers of a biennial Christian conference in Florida invited longtime minister James Moore to speak on “Understanding Islam.”

Interest in the subject intensified, though, after a gunman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group opened fire at a gay nightclub not far from the Rosen Centre Hotel, where 2,000 members of Churches of Christ from 14 states and six nations gathered.

Suddenly — and sadly — Moore’s breakout sessions tackling questions ranging from the meaning of jihad to how to interact with ordinary Muslims became much more timely.

“ISIS is on everybody’s mind,” said Moore, using another term for the Islamic State as he spoke at the recent Equip Conference— formerly known as the Spiritual Growth Workshop.

“Islam is a big subject, and we could spend from now until Jesus comes talking about Islam,” he told a crowd of about 200 who came to one of his sessions — which were moved to a larger banquet hall to accommodate the size of the audiences.

After Omar Mateen fatally shot 49 people and wounded 53 others at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 — one month ago — Christians such as Alina Wyder felt a need to become better educated on Islam.

This is the second of a three-part series in The Christian Chronicle.