Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



translation, BYU, Middle Eastern texts, library


One of the misconceptions that many Westerners have is that all Arabs are Muslims and that all Muslims are Arabs. In fact, many of the major Islamic countries in the world (e.g., Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and the most populous of them all, Indonesia) are not Arab, and large minorities in some Arab countries are not Muslim. Christianity is a Near Eastern religion, not a European one, and it has been in the Near East since its origin. (An Egyptian Christian friend once complained to me about how tired he had become of Americans and Europeans asking him whether his family had been converted by the Germans, the French, or the British. His ancestors, he pointed out, had been converted by Mark, the writer of the Second Gospel, in the first century ad. My own forebears, in Scandinavia, didn’t accept Christianity until roughly a millennium later.)