Muslim, Christian debate does little to bridge the gap - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Muslim, Christian debate does little to bridge the gap

Pastor Chris Ashley, left, and debate partner Usama Dak Dok prepare. (Photo source: WLOX) Pastor Chris Ashley, left, and debate partner Usama Dak Dok prepare. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Muslim debate team was led by Dawud Salaam. (Photo source: WLOX) The Muslim debate team was led by Dawud Salaam. (Photo source: WLOX)
Cowan Road Baptist Church created a stir in the community and on social media with its marquee that read "Jesus is God, Allah is Satan". (Photo source: WLOX) Cowan Road Baptist Church created a stir in the community and on social media with its marquee that read "Jesus is God, Allah is Satan". (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The sign posted at Cowan Road Baptist Church that proclaimed Jesus is God, Allah is Satan may have created a big stir, but it also created conversation. Some hoped it would be the beginning of understanding. But the debate between Muslim and Christian leaders did little to bridge the divide.

It had the potential for fireworks, and Cowan Road Baptist Church was prepared for the nearly 100 people attending. Some of both faiths were hoping for some understanding. David and Maria Longstaff of Michigan are both born again Christians.

"My wife and I have both lived for over two years in a Muslim country," Longstaff said. "But the short time there, we saw, but did not understand. ... I hope I get a chance to understand where they’re coming from."

"We’re not a supporter of terrorism," said Khalid Abudul Muhayman of Moss Point. "We don't believe in strapping bombs up on ourselves and blowing up innocent people and things of that nature. That is nowhere in the Koran to be found. If there were something like that, I wouldn’t be Muslim."

But while one side wanted to talk, the other was ready for a fight. 

"We do not, and I repeat, we do not hate the Muslim people," said Chris Ashley, pastor of Cowan Road Baptist Church. "We hate the Koran. We hate what it stands for. We hate what it teaches. Because it teaches the same things that we find that are satanic."

And so, Ashley and debate partner Usama Dak Dok, a born again Christian from Egypt, had an all-out PowerPoint blitz using the Koran as the basis of their contention that Allah is Satan. Over and over again. It seemed to overwhelm the Muslim guests, but with a sense of humor.

"Wow, this is the first time I’ve encountered this," said Dawud Salaam of Gautier. "I must admit, I myself have to go back and study more."

But the tone began to change.

"They say that Allah is Satan," he said. "If the Koran has so many contradictions and that makes Allah Satan, then what about the Bible? Who did that?"

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly