Pastors in Detroit are trying to calm Muslim communities that are cautiously upping security at Islamic mosques and schools on Friday as the 24-hour prayer event TheCall kicks off. The group of clergy are proclaiming messages of brotherly love for Muslims and renewal for the Motor City.
“We LOVE MUSLIMS!! But I know someone who loves them even more than we do! Jesus,” Jubilee City Church Pastor Marcellis Smith tweeted Friday morning. He followed up two hours later simply proclaiming, “We love Muslims!!”
The emphasis on love comes after the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a Wednesday press conference warning Muslims about TheCall.
Detroit CAIR spokesman Dawud Walid told ABC7, “This group has propagated over a video that Muslims are demon possessed and they believe in exorcisms to the point of going to certain locations and driving stakes into the ground.”
As a result, Walid said area mosques have been warned to heighten their security efforts this weekend.
Walid also told the local television station that he feared the Christian prayer event would foster an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance towards Muslims.
“Our other concern is when you have a movement in the name of religion, in the name of Christianity that is demonizing an entire group of people.”
TheCall is a 10-year movement that has called together crowds of young Christians in various states to pray and fast for 24 hours.
Lou Engle, the movement’s founder, calls on participants to embrace the message of Joel 2 when the Israelites are called to return to God through fasting, weeping and mourning. The end result is an outpouring of blessings and spirit-filled action.
In videos for TheCall Detroit, Engle and Detroit pastors made no mention of Muslims. Rather, the event leaders spoke about renewal for the economically-depressed manufacturing city.
“We’re believing that on 11-11-11, when the body of Christ from all over the nation converge here on this field of dreams, we believe, with united fasting and prayer, God is going to answer from heaven [and] He’s going to bring healing to this city,” Engle said.
Still Walid criticized the videotaped messages, saying, “They’ve brought one group of messages to certain pastors that didn’t mention Muslims but when you go online, do research and look at their videos [you see] that they clearly talked about Muslims and how Islam is not even a religion, that we’re demon possessed.”
The Christian Post found a video online where Morning Star Ministries leader Rick Joyner and Engle discuss the growing Muslim community all over the world and in Dearborn, Mich., and their conversion to Christianity.
Joyner said, “One of the things that Detroit has become known for is the largest Muslim community in our nation, in Dearborn. It’s growing and many have said that there’s actually going to [be an] attempt to make Michigan our first Muslim state.”
He continued, “Islam is in our face everywhere we turn and here, in America, this is the one place where it is most in our face right now.”
In the video, Engle responds, “On 11-11-11, the Lord just clearly showed to us that you got to pray all night long because it’s when the Muslims sleep. And all of over the world, Muslims are having dreams of Jesus.”
He continued, “We believe God wants to invade, with His love, Dearborn with dreams of Jesus. We gathering together to say ‘God pour out your grace and revelation of Jesus all over Dearborn and the Muslim communities of North and South America.’”
The video, which was edited and posted on the website of liberal watchdog group Right Wing Watch, made no mention of demon-possessed Muslims or exorcisms outside of mosques.
CP was not able to find the full video in Joyner’s Morning Star YouTube Channel.
The controversy surrounding the event has forced local pastors to offer friendly gestures to the Muslim community. Just before the 4:30 start of the pre-Call event, Smith tweeted, “Don’t get it twisted, its a fast, not a festival! EVERYONE is welcome!! BTW We LOVE Muslims, no rhetoric, no spin.”
TheCall Detroit begins at 6 p.m. on Friday at Ford Field stadium and ends at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Leaders are expecting 50,000 to 100,000 to attend.