I’ve always held the greatest respect for Imran Khan.  He was a fantastic cricketer and cricket captain, and well known for his philanthropic work especially building and developing the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre; to make cancer treatment accessible to every citizen of Pakistan.

Since August this year, Imran Khan has been Prime Minister of Pakistan, with a focus on making the country a humanitarian state that seeks to elevate the standards of living of the less fortunate and where everyone is equal under the law.  His Party aims to create a welfare state that gives attention to education, health, and employment. It promotes freedom of thought and works against religious discrimination – and that’s why what Imran Khan said last week is confusing.

While addressing a conference in Islamabad on the birthday anniversary of Prophet Muhammad on Tuesday, he said, “Moses got some mention, but Jesus Christ has no mention in human history.” [1] Khan’s statement is concerning for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it works against his party’s platform of working against religious discrimination and secondly, it’s completely false.

Inconsistent With Reality

Pakistan’s strict Blasphemy Laws have recently been in the news again highlighted by the case of Asia Bibi, “a Christian woman from a Punjab village who in 2010 got into an altercation with some Muslim women and was later accused by them of having blasphemed.”[2]  She’s now been acquitted but is in hiding for fear of her life.

Pakistan is the fifth worst persecuting nation in the world and is “the most violent country for Christians. Islamic extremists attack churches.  Christians are abducted, forced to marry Muslims and even killed for their faith. Many are forced into hiding. The government doesn’t usually intervene.”[3]  Surely Imran Khan’s statement about Jesus will do nothing to help the already desperate challenges faced by Christians in Pakistan.

Jesus in History

Imran Khan’s assertion that Jesus Christ has no mention in human history is completely false.  First Century historian, Josephus, wrote of Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities in AD 93, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.”[4]

The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus alludes to the death of Christ, “Christus [Christ], the founder of the name [Christian], was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius” (Annals XV: 44).

Suetonius, the Roman historian and court official during the reign of Emperor Hadrian wrote in his Life of Claudius: “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christ], he expelled them from Rome” (Life of Claudius 25.4).

Tallus was a secular historian who, in AD52, wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Trojan War to his own time. The document no longer exists but other writers like Julius Africanus, who wrote around AD221, quoted it. He cites Tallus’ comments about the darkness that enveloped the land during the late afternoon hours when Jesus died on the cross. Julius wrote: “Tallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun unreasonably, as it seems to me (unreasonably of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died)” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18.1).

Mara Bar-Serapion was a stoic Syrian philosopher who wrote a letter from prison to his son about AD70. He compares Jesus to the philosophers Socrates and Pythagoras.

Lucian, the Greek satirist in the latter half of the 2nd century, spoke scornfully of Christ and the Christians but never argued that Jesus didn’t exist. “The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account …” (The Death of Peregrine, 11-13).

The Babylonian Talmud states: “It has been taught: On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu [Jesus]…they hanged him on the eve of Passover.”  Hanged is another way of referring to a crucifixion (Luke 23:39 and Galatians 3:13).

Add to all this the recent discovery of hand-struck coins minted sometime between 33-47AD which have images and depictions of Jesus Christ – many which correlates to popular Biblical events including Jesus healing the blind man, Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead and Jesus being bound and dragged on His way to Pontius Pilate.

There are plenty of mentions of Jesus Christ in human history.  Imran Khan could not have been more wrong.  Islam’s Holy Scriptures also attest to the existence of Jesus,

“in the 114 chapters of the Quran … Jesus (Isa) is mentioned directly and indirectly 187 times in 93 verses.”[5]

I hope that Imran Khan will correct his false statement, but I won’t be holding my breath. In the meantime, please remember the precious Christians of Pakistan, pray for them and pray for their persecutors too.


[1] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-stirs-controversy-over-jesus/articleshow/66754025.cms?from=mdr

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35910331

[3] https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/world-watch-list/

[4] https://baysidechurch.com.au/jesus-a-really-historical-person/

[5] https://baysidechurch.com.au/jesus-in-the-quran/



I’ve always been aware that the Quran mentions Jesus a number of times, but it wasn’t until I had a fascinating conversation with a guy this week that I realised how much Jesus is revealed – and not just the quantity of references but their quality too.

Now I want to state upfront that I am not a scholar of the Quran. I don’t pretend to be an authority on Islam and neither is this blog written to be critical of another religion.  I never make light of other people’s beliefs even when they differ from mine.  To be genuinely Christian is to “Love your neighbour as yourself” and that includes loving and respecting those of other faiths including Islam.

The man I was chatting with pointed out to me that in the 114 chapters of the Quran, Mohammed is mentioned in 5 places, but Jesus (Isa) is mentioned directly and indirectly 187 times in 93 verses (ref: Jesus in Islam).  Now I’m not suggesting that the frequency of mention automatically makes one more important than the other, but it does interest me that the Muslim Holy Book honours Jesus in this way by making Him the most mentioned person.

The Quran teaches that Jesus is al-Masih (Messiah or Christ) who came to bring a new revelation (al-Injil, or Gospel).  He is referred to as the Son of Mary, the Spirit of God and the Word of God who went to Heaven, is still alive and will come again. The Quran, as well as most Hadith (reports describing the words, actions and habits of the prophet Muhammad) mention that Jesus was born without sin and performed many miracles.

Although most Muslims don’t believe in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection there is an interesting verse in the Quran (19:33-34) which some have suggested refers to both events: And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.  That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.”  Other scholars disagree with this interpretation.

In the Quran (Surah 62:5) Allah does not think very highly of those who don’t read Holy Scripture such as the Tawrat (Torah or Hebrew Scriptures) and al-Injil (the Gospel).  The Quran also instructs Muslims on how they should treat those who study Holy Scripture: “So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which we have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters” (Surah 10:94).  Many scholars believe this verse encourages Muslims to read, know and apply truth by listening to the people of the Holy Scriptures, that is, the Jews and the Christians.  In fact, to learn more about Isa (Jesus) one is encouraged to read al-injil – the Gospel, the four books found at the beginning of the Christian New Testament.  Reading these amazing, ancient books will give you great insight into the Man Jesus, what He did and what He taught and, most importantly, what He can do in your life today because, as the Quran and the Bible declare, He is still alive!


In the light of the deadly terrorist attacks on Paris a few days ago, social media has been abuzz with various commentary on what has happened and why. To my surprise someone left a comment on my Facebook page that said, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.” I was stunned by the ignorance of the statement.

You see, I spent my early years in the UK and so I vividly remember the outbreak of terrorism in Northern Ireland in 1968. “The Troubles” lasted 30 years and, even when we moved to Australia in 1971, we frequently heard of atrocities caused by both sides – Catholic and Protestant Christians. As an atheist in my teenage years I would role my eyes at the fact that Christians were blowing each other up in Northern Ireland. It did nothing to endear me to the Gospel of Jesus. It wasn’t until I was converted to Christianity in the late 70s that I began to realise that just because someone called himself or herself a Christian, a Catholic or a Protestant, it didn’t mean they really were. The Irish terrorists may have aligned themselves with the Christian faith but they weren’t Christian.

Imagine how genuine Muslims feel right now that people bearing the name of their faith are blowing people up, beheading them and shooting them all in the name of Allah. Shouting Allahu Akbar (“God is greatest”) before blowing people up is no more Muslim than a Protestant or Catholic terrorist in Northern Ireland is Christian.

Since the attack by Islamic extremists on the World Trade Centre in 2001 there has been an increase of terrorism in the name of the Islamic faith, and this has been the focus of the media that I imagine led to the comment on Facebook about all terrorists being Muslim. But consider this:

“Christian” terrorism is still alive and well. The Army of God is a network of violent Christianists that has been active since the early 1980s and openly promotes killing abortion providers. The army of God also has a history of promoting violence against gays. Then there’s Eastern Lightning (the Church of the Almighty God or the Church of the Gospel’s Kingdom). They believe that the world is coming to an end, and in the meantime, its duty is to slay as many demons as possible. They have been responsible for a number of killings and kidnappings in China.

The mainstream media has had much to say about the Islamist brutality of Boko Haram (and rightly so), but one terrorist group they haven’t paid nearly as much attention to is the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)—which was founded by Joseph Kony (a radical Christianist) in Uganda in 1987 and has called for the establishment of a severe Christian fundamentalist government in that country. The LRA, according to Human Rights Watch, has committed thousands of killings and kidnappings spreading its terrorism from Uganda to parts of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The LRA’s tactics are not unlike those of ISIS or Boko Haram. And the governments Kony hopes to establish in Sub-Saharan Africa would implement a Christianist equivalent of Islamic Sharia law.

There’s the National Liberation Front of Tripura – a paramilitary Christianist movement that hopes to secede from India and establish a Christian fundamentalist government. It has zero tolerance for any religion other than Christianity, and the group has repeatedly shown a willingness to kill, kidnap or torture Hindus who refuse to be converted to its extreme brand of Protestant fundamentalism. There are other groups like The Phineas Priesthood and The Concerned Christians that true Christians should be concerned about.

Hindu nationalist groups in India far outweigh the damage caused by Islamist terrorists. In 2014 there were 976 deaths from terrorism in India. Islamist extremism claimed four lives. In the past decade, extremist Hindus have increased their attacks on Christians, until there are now several hundred per year.

Buddhist terrorist groups are playing a leading role in the rising tide of religious extremism in their respective countries and have been active in promoting the violent ideology that has led to hundreds of deaths in Sri Lanka and genocide in the western Rakhine state of Myanmar. In Australia some of our “boat people” have been a Muslim minority from Myanmar, the Rohingya people. None of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities have escaped persecution from the country’s Burman majority government over the years – be they Christian, Animist, Muslim or Buddhist.

Right now seven of the top ten terrorist groups are Islamic extremists. We have a problem that doesn’t seem like it will go away for years if not decades. Islam has a problem too and it’s my opinion that Muslim leaders – and Muslim people in general – need to be much more vocal in decrying acts of terrorism. But while I hear a lot of Christians condemning Islamic extremism I haven’t heard anything from the church denouncing Christian terrorism when it raises its ugly head. The silence is deafening!

What we need is for all good people – regardless of their faith or absence of a faith – speaking out against injustice wherever it is and whoever perpetrates it. Let us pray for Paris, but let’s not forget the people of other cities and nations that are affected by terrorism every single day. Consider this, over 200,000 people have died in Syria in the past 4.5 years. That’s equivalent to a Paris attack EVERY DAY! Why don’t we see Facebook profile pictures depicting the Syrian flag? Are we praying for them too or are we sitting back making ignorant judgments like, “all terrorists are Muslim.”

The shootings at Charlie Hebdo are inexcusable.  Resolving a disagreement or offence by ending the life of another is never right.  The outpouring of grief and demonstration of solidarity with the French at this time is inspiring and brings out the best in humanity – although we obviously don’t feel the same level of grief over the hundreds of people killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria this week or the 37 killed by al-Qaeda in Yemen.  But I’ll save my thoughts on that for another blog.

Not only were the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo vicious, but they were also stupid.  Muslim extremists killing people over insults to their Prophet and what were they trying to achieve?  Justice for Islam?  Honour for Muhammed?  The end of Charlie Hebdo?  None of these things was achieved.  You see Charlie Hebdo was already in serious difficulty.  In fact last week they were in danger of folding.  But not now!  Before the attacks, they printed 60,000 copies of each edition.  This week they’re printing over 3 million copies in 16 different languages.  Charlie Hebdo is now a household name around the world.

In addition to that The Press and Pluralism Association donated $360,0000, ordinary citizens through crowd fundraising gave $150,000, while French Culture and Communications Minister Fleur Pel­lerin pledged $1.45 million to the magazine.  Charlie Hebdo now has more power, reach and influence than ever before and they will continue to do the same work of satirizing religions, cultures and politics.  Nothing will be out of bounds.  So, stupid terrorists, you would have been better off ignoring Charlie – just like those of other faiths did.  Sure, there may have been blogs and media articles expressing concern at the distasteful cartoons in the magazine.  Even Barrack Obama condemned them in 2012 and the French Government itself asked them to be more restrained.  But it took two Islamist extremists to make sure Charlie Hebdo now has a bright future.

In 1988 there was a Canadian-American film released called The Last Temptation of Christ.  I never saw it but I know people who did.  It was an average movie that would have been a Box Office flop except for the free publicity given it by “Concerned Christians” who protested about the perceived blasphemous themes in the film.  The movie should have been ignored.  Hollywood must have sat back and rubbed its hands together in glee as the money rolled in.  Incidents like this have occurred far too many times.

It reminds me of a quote by Elbert Hubbard: “Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”  In other words, there are times when ignoring something or someone is the best course of action.  Jesus did it.  Sometimes he just remained silent.  Other times he answered a question with another question.  He was never defensive, he never tried to justify himself and he certainly never resorted to violence to prove a point.  He overcame evil with good because good is more powerful than evil and he encourages us to do the same.

This morning we awake to the news of yet another terrorist attack – once again inflicted by Islamist extremists. In Paris, twelve people are dead and eight are injured (four critically) by the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo; a weekly French satirical newspaper. The newspaper has become well known throughout the world over the years for featuring cartoons, reports, jokes and aggressive attacks on religions, politics and culture.  It seems nothing was held sacred or out of bounds.

For some English translations of their more provocative material click on this link:


Two thoughts immediately spring to mind when I consider the horrendous events that took place in Paris yesterday.

Firstly, how far should free speech go?  Now I’m not suggesting the extremist anti free speech of some Communist and Muslim countries. What I am asking is where does self control, respect and decency limit what we say, write and publish? If I know that saying something is going to offend or hurt someone else I practice self control out of respect for that person.  Jesus encapsulated this when He taught people to “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  The French government had requested restraint of Charlie Hebdo several years ago when it published drawings, some of which depicted Mohammad naked and in demeaning or pornographic poses.  These were met with a swift rebuke by the French government, which warned the magazine could be inflaming tensions, even as it reiterated France’s free speech protections.  Charlie Hebdo went ahead and as a result France had to increase security at its embassies across the Muslim world.  Protests occurred across the Muslim world like the violent protests that targeted the United States over an amateur video produced in California that left at least 30 people dead.  In 2005, Danish cartoons of the Prophet sparked a wave of violent protests across the Muslim world that killed at least 50 people. Many innocent people have died because of the sacred cow of freedom of speech.

This leads me to my second thought. As I’ve watched reports on various news networks it is almost laughable to watch reporters side-step the “M” word.  One reporter said it was too early to attribute this attack to any particular ideology. Really?  The assault was carried out by two masked men brandishing AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles, with at least one shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic.  When are the media going to rise above some distorted sense of political correctness and state the obvious? Several reporters also went to extremes to explain that Charlie Hebdo also mocked Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and various political persuasions.  And that is true.  But other religions don’t riot and shoot people.  We don’t hear about Buddhist suicide bombers.  Jews don’t put car bombs outside hotels.  Christians turn the other cheek although we are just as offended by the constant mockery and insults to our faith by the media and Hollywood.

It is true that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate, pious people who suffer more from terrorism and violence than non-Muslims. Ninety-three percent of Muslims do not support extremist views of terrorism according to a conservative Gallup poll.  But that means that 7% do.  Current estimates suggest there are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.  That means there are about 112 million Muslims who hold extremist views – and they are obviously living among us, as has been made painfully clear by the recent events in France, Australia, Canada, America and many other nations.

So, out of love and respect for others let us limit our freedom of speech but, at the same time, let us call Islamic extremism what it is and work in unity with all peaceful people to see an end to it.

Burning the Koran is the latest example to hit the news of unchristian Christianity!  A Florida pastor last week announced that he would stage a Koran burning day (on the ninth anniversary of 9/11) as a protest over the proposed building of an Islamic Cultural Centre near the World Trade Centre site.

It is my personal opinion that building an Islamic Cultural Centre so close to the area where thousands of people lost their lives because of the action of Muslim extremists is insensitive and inappropriate.  But to threaten to burn the Muslims’ Holy Book is also insensitive, inappropriate and flies in the face of Jesus’ teaching – especially the Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Almost all organized religions have such an ethic, and Islam is no exception.  Muhammad, in his farewell sermon said, “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.”  The Koran states, “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”  It also teaches, “Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself, that you may be a believer …”

Fascinating isn’t it?  That even in the light of Jesus’ and Muhammad’s teaching so many of their followers get it wrong.  And because of this we have “Christians” threatening to burn the Koran and “Muslims” blowing up buildings.  Would these people want others to do this to them?  Of course not!  So why – when their faith teaches so differently – do they behave so “unchristianly” and “unmuslimly” to others?

Of course this is not a new phenomena.  Muslims can point to numerous atrocities committed against them by Christians over the centuries – not least of all The Crusades.  And Muslims have likewise persecuted Christians, destroyed churches and have been guilty on many occasions of burning Bibles:

2005: Saudi Arabia desecrates hundreds of Bibles annually
2006: Muslim students urinate, spit on and then burn the Bible
2007: Christians in Gaza fear for their lives as Muslims burn Bibles and destroy crosses
2008: Muslims burn Bibles in Pakistan

Just put some key words on this subject into Google and it brings up a wealth of examples of both Christians and Muslims failing to obey their Golden Rule as taught by Jesus and Muhammad.

The biggest problem though is that many people – and often the media – tend to lump all Christians and all Muslims together in the same category, so that “all Muslims are terrorists” and “all Christians are Koran burners.”  Of course that is just not true.

We do far better when we stop making broad generalizations about categories of people and instead get to know precious people as individuals.  As a Christian I know many fine, genuine Christians who are horrified by the threat of this Florida Pastor.  Over the years I have also met some wonderful Muslim people who are equally horrified by the actions and attitudes of a minority who bear the name “Muslim” but do not live up to their faith’s teachings.

What the world needs to see is genuine faith without hypocrisy!