Letter to Marketing Director- Pretoria University PDF Print E-mail

 

Marketing Director 
University of Pretoria
Pretoria
0002

28 July 2005

Dear Office Bearer

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your reply of 22/07. I do appreciate you taking the time to reply in detail.

However, I am concerned that you have not been fully informed as to all aspects of this incident. Your letter, and the statements which have been sent to other concerned individuals that have been forwarded on to me, misrepresents our mission. It places much of the blame for the incident on the victim, while down-playing the threats and abusive behaviour of the unruly students.

We appreciate that this incident is not of your making. However, I do not see why you need to vilify a mission dedicated to helping persecuted Christians whilst effectively excusing those students who displayed extreme intolerance, even to the point of tearing up and burning some of our mission’s literature, and making death threats against our missionary.

I have requested and received a detailed written report from Timothy Keller, and from others who witnessed the incident.

Their reports are clearly at variance with your statement which would appear to be more concerned with damage control, and the image of the university, than facing up to the facts of the intolerant and criminal behaviour of the students in question.

Frontline Fellowship is a respected international mission which for 23 years has been serving suffering Christians and assisting persecuted churches throughout Africa. During this time I have represented our mission at churches, conferences and colleges in 28 countries. We have never before experienced such intolerance and hostility on any university campus, nor at any missions week.

There is nothing in the Frontline Fellowship missions display that could possibly be construed as inflammatory or offensive. Unless one finds that serving the suffering is offensive. Perhaps those who support the rights of un-elected governments to bomb hospitals, schools and churches might find our medical, agricultural and educational ministry to the victims of such oppression offensive, but surely no student of the University of Pretoria, committed to the “values of human dignity, respect, tolerance, diversity…religious freedom…” could possibly object to our missions of mercy?

I’ve also carefully studied The End of Islam article which your statement claimed was “inflammatory and offensive…creating an explosive situation…” I do not know how any representative of an academic institution committed to “the right to free speech and freedom of religion” can possibly describe this article as inflammatory and offensive. Many of the historical atrocities reported in the article are offensive, but surely the reporting of the historical facts in itself cannot be offensive – unless we are offended by the facts of history?

The most inflammatory words in the article are quotes taken directly from the Quran and the Hadith (The Muslims Holy Books).

The End of Islam may be dealing with the explosive reality of radical Islamic terrorism worldwide, but it does not blame all Muslims for this. Right in the introduction it makes clear that this is the work of “radical Muslim extremists”.

Most Muslims are not terrorists. However, it is a fact that most terrorists are Muslims. This fact has been discussed everywhere fromTime magazine through The London Times as writers worldwide seek to grapple to understand this phenomenon of suicide bombings, and international terrorism.

Although our mission base has been bombed ten times by the National Islamic Front Government of Sudan Air Force, and although I have been bombed by radical Muslims even while preaching in church services in Sudan, nowhere in any of our literature will you find a call for retaliation, revenge or violence. On the contrary, the article which you called “inflammatory” includes a full A3 fold-out poster entitledPRAY FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD. Far from The End of Islam calling for any hostility or reprisals, the article ends with a passionate call to prayer:“Pray for the Muslim world…pray for the women suffering…pray that the Church may respond to the threat of Islam with prayer and action – to win Muslims for Christ…’Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…’ Matthew 28:19”

I do believe that you owe us an apology for having misrepresented our mission and materials to enquirers worldwide as: “inflammatory and offensive”.

In addition, I believe you owe Mr. Timothy Keller an apology for effectively blaming him for a situation of which he was plainly the victim, and of portraying the eviction and exclusion of our mission from the Mission Week as Mr. Keller’s decision, in response to “the suggestion that he should leave the area”.

We are not suggesting that the university is to blame for the unacceptable intolerance of some students. However, I do believe that you have reacted unfairly in trying to pass off the burden of responsibility upon those being threatened, rather than focusing on finding and disciplining those students guilty of such intolerance, misconduct and criminal hate speech against our missionary.

In addition, should you wish, I could forward to you examples of the Islamic attacks on Christ and the Bible which are published by the Islamic Propagation Centre International and distributed widely on your campus. It is precisely in response to these prevalent attacks against Christianity which The End of Islam article was responding to.

Please be assured of our ongoing prayers and concern.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Peter Hammond

Director

 
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