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Tsunami Aide & Muslims

It’s interesting to see what various countries are giving.
Japan, being in Asia understandably, is giving the largest
amount of state aid, pledging $500 million. The United States
is second with $350 million (not to mention the many millions
that private donors are giving plus millions spent by our
military). And while our carping critics in Europe immediately
jumped on America for being so timid in coming up with im-
mediate funds, Germany, one of the great industrial powers
of the world, is giving about $25 million, or 7 percent of the
U.S. total.

I also find it noteworthy that of the top ten countries, none is
a Muslim nation. Just yesterday, Saudi Arabia agreed, after
much public criticism, to triple its originally pledged $10 million.
Kuwait, a country that ran an unexpected $10 billion dollar
surplus this year, also pledged $10 million—please. Since
Indonesia, the country hardest hit by the tsunami, has
the world’s largest Muslim population, it’s ironic and
sad that these oil-rich nations are so reluctant to part
with the riches that enable their leaders to live as kings
and princes—even for fellow Muslims. By contrast,
America with its Christian heritage is giving generously
to non-Christian nations.

But, you see, this is a pattern. In numerous crises, America,
the beacon of hope to the world, has sent its troops into
harm’s way to save persecuted Muslims. It happened in
Bosnia, Albania, Kuwait, Afghanistan, in African nations,
and is happening today in Iraq. But I have yet to see
a case where a Muslim country has tried to help a Christian

This speaks volumes about the worldviews of Christian
and Muslim nations and the way we carry out our religious
convictions. Right now there is a raging debate going on in
Kuwait over whether more individuals should be giving
charitable assistance to the people in southeast Asia. Some
leaders in Kuwait are arguing that the government has an
obligation to give more to southeast Asia because most
of the country’s 1.3 million foreigners come from that region.
They are the servants and the nannies and housemaids for
the Kuwaiti rich. Editorials in Kuwait are even suggesting
that it really is all right for Muslims to give aid to non-
Muslims—a subject of hot debate in the Middle East.

What happened in southeast Asia is a terrible tragedy,
and we should grieve with the suffering people and help
them. But this is also an apologetic opportunity: Let the
world see the kind of compassion we have for all people,
not just fellow Christians. At the same time, the world
can plainly see the limitations of a religion like Islam—
theocratic, closed, indifferent, and unconcerned about
the needs of others, even in its own Muslim family.

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