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Being there "God's Smuggler" Brother Andrew has an odd way of breaking down barriers between Christians and Muslims. But somehow it works.

BROTHER ANDREW Anne van der Bijl (born 11 May 1928), known in English-speaking countries as Brother Andrew, is a Christian missionary famous for his exploits smuggling Bibles to communist countries in the height of the Cold War, a feat that has earned him the nickname "God's smuggler".  is anything but politically correct politically correct Politically sensitive adjective Referring to language reflecting awareness and sensitivity to another person's physical, mental, cultural, or other disadvantages or deviations from a norm; a person is not mentally retarded, but . The Dutch-born evangelist, in this age of carefully nuanced interfaith dialogue, unapologetically preaches the Christian gospel, especially to Muslims. And yet, despite what some might call his blunt approach--or maybe because of it--he has been warmly welcomed by many Muslims, with whom he has formed close friendships.

Brother Andrew first achieved international notoriety with his autobiographical best-seller God's Smuggler, which has sold more than 10 million copies since its publication in 1967. The book told the story of how Brother Andrew "smuggled smug·gle  
v. smug·gled, smug·gling, smug·gles
1. To import or export without paying lawful customs charges or duties.

2. To bring in or take out illicitly or by stealth.
" Bibles and evangelistic materials behind the Iron Curtain For the Iron Maiden video by the same name, see .

Behind the Iron Curtain is a concert recorded by Nico for "Pandora's Music Box '85" at De Doelen Concertgebouw, Grote Zaal (Great Hall), in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on October 9, 1985.
 at the height of the Cold War. Born in 1928 in the Netherlands as Anne van der Bijl (which translates as Andrew), he explained that "Brother" is a name given to all those who believe, and that he dislikes the "smuggler" label. "That term came from the publisher in the States--not from me," Brother Andrew explained. 'We weren't "smuggling'--we were just taking things in without permission ... call it 'unofficial delivery.'"

Today, since the fall of Soviet communism, Brother Andrew's efforts are focused in large part on the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. "In the early 1970s," Brother Andrew told Sojourners in a January conversation while attending a Muslim-Evangelical Christian dialogue in Tripoli, Libya, "I saw that Islam could one day be a bigger threat to the church than communism ever was."

The language Brother Andrew uses often comes across as surprisingly undiplomatic--not many people who are trying to build bridges with Islam would use words like "threat" about the very people they're trying to reach--and he has never fit neatly into ideological categories. For instance, despite the fact that he made his name in the heat of the Cold War, he is far from an apologist Apologist

Any of the Christian writers, primarily in the 2nd century, who attempted to provide a defense of Christianity against Greco-Roman culture. Many of their writings were addressed to Roman emperors and were submitted to government secretaries in order to defend
 for U.S. or Western policies. Brother Andrew has often traveled to Vietnam, starting in 1965 as a war correspondent war correspondent
A journalist, reporter, or commentator assigned to report directly from a war or combat zone.

Noun 1. war correspondent
 for Guideposts Guideposts is a Christian-faith based non-profit organization founded in 1945 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale. The Guideposts organization is headquartered in Carmel, New York, with additional offices in New York City, Chesterton, Indiana, and Pawling,  magazine, visiting areas "where you could not go as a missionary" and "witnessing to Americans"--despite the fact that "they knew my opposition to the war."

Several factors convinced Brother Andrew to shift his evangelistic attention from communism to Islam, including the emergence of the OPEC OPEC: see Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
 in full Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Multinational organization established in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum production and export policies of its
 cartel as a world power, the waning of communism as an ideology,, and the resurgence and revival of Islam. All these added up to the inescapable conclusion that the "church movement was losing our grip on the world" to Islam. For Brother Andrew, the frame of reference is always the "church movement," not any nation's agenda.


THESE DAYS, Brother Andrew--who is no longer involved in the day-to-day management of Open Doors, the organization he founded in the 1950s--concentrates his work on the Middle East, particularly Lebanon and Palestine. His recent books include Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire A multi-GPU interface from ATI for connecting two ATI display adapters together for faster graphics rendering on one monitor. CrossFire machines require PCI Express slots, a CrossFire-enabled motherboard and, depending on which models are used, either a pair of ATI Radeon adapters or one  (2004) and Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ (2007).

In the course of his work, Brother Andrew befriended the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Ahmed (b. October 26, 1973 in Islington, London) - not to be confused with Al-Jazeera editor-in-chief Ahmed Sheikh - is a British web developer, music blogger and DJ.  Yassin, as well as former Palestine Liberation Organization Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), coordinating council for Palestinian organizations, founded (1964) by Egypt and the Arab League and initially controlled by Egypt.  leader Yasser Arafat. He preaches the gospel not only to Hamas leaders in Gaza, but also to members of the Taliban in western Pakistan, where he has taken Bibles and preached in madrassas (Islamic religions schools). "I'd love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Osama bin Laden Osama bin Laden: see bin Laden, Osama. ," Brother Andrew said, "and tell him about Jesus."


When asked about the dangers involved in such activities, he responds with a shrug and emphasizes the importance of his ministry of presence. "Being there is worth more than 10 of the best sermons," he said. "Be there, with your Bible and open to the Spirit, and God can tell you what to do." Some have questioned Brother Andrew's relationships with people the West considers "Islamic extremists," but he responds forcefully, "They've forgotten Matthew 28:19 ['So go and make followers of all people in the world.']. You don't wait for an invitation; you just go."

Brother Andrew has provided doctors and medical equipment for a hospital in Gaza and supported the Baptist church there as well as Bethlehem Bible College A Bible college is an institution of higher education in which the course of study specializes in biblical studies. This curriculum differs from the focus on academic programs of Christian liberal arts colleges or research universities, which may include, but are not limited to, . For such work, and in the wake of Light Force, "some Israeli friends hate me now." But, he said, "just because I'm for the Palestinians doesn't mean I'm against Israel-it's not about taking sides." His work in the occupied territories This article is about occupied territory in general: for more specific discussion of the territories captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, see Israeli-occupied territories.

Occupied territories
 has made him a strong advocate for justice for Palestinians. "You try to be impartial," he said, "but your emotions tell you otherwise because of the immense suffering."

Other experts on the Middle East commend Brother Andrew's outreach toward Muslims. "I think he sees what he is doing as 'loving your neighbor' and 'loving your enemy,'" said Colin Chapman Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (19 May 1928 - 16 December 1982)[1] was an influential British designer, inventor, and builder in the automotive industry. In 1952 he founded the sports car company Lotus Cars. , author of Whose Promised Land? and Cross and Crescent: Responding to the Challenge of Islam. "He wants to build bridges and be a peacemaker."

Chapman pointed in particular to Brother Andrew's work in zing Islam. "Brother Andrew is aware that in the minds of many Christians and non-Christians in the West, Islam has taken the place of communism as 'The Great Enemy,'" Chapman told Sojourners. "This kind of demonization de·mon·ize  
tr.v. de·mon·ized, de·mon·iz·ing, de·mon·iz·es
1. To turn into or as if into a demon.

2. To possess by or as if by a demon.

 of Muslims and Islam is particularly common among evangelical Christians This is a list of people who are notable due to their influence on the popularity or development of evangelical Christianity or for their professed Evangelicalism.


  • John Bunyan, (1628 - 1688) - persecuted English Puritan Baptist preacher and author of
. I believe he has been extremely courageous in encouraging Christians to address the challenges of the Muslim world and see Muslims as neighbors to be loved and people who need to hear the message of Jesus."

But how to account for the warm reception he has received from many Muslims, when he so forthrightly preaches Jesus to them? "Muslims love him because he is a Christian who loves Jesus, loves the Bible, loves people and proves it by his works," said Leonard Rodgers, executive director of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU). "He also speaks his mind and he listens. He truly cares."

It's not just Brother Andrew's charismatic personality that endears him to many Muslims. "Muslims respect any Christians who are passionate about their faith and want to share it," Chapman said. "They also respect the fact that he is so obviously trying to be a disciple of Jesus, whom they regard as a prophet."

In fact, it is exactly Brother Andrew's strong faith and enthusiasm for the gospel that opens Islamic doors to him, according to Rodgers. "Muslims like holy people. They do not understand secular people," Rodgers explained. "Many Muslims seek God more diligently than those who have grown up in a Christian culture.... Most Christians fail to understand how much Muslims respect and honor Jesus. Brother Andrew has learned that. I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
 how many times I have spoken to Muslims about Jesus only to have them say, 'Oh, I love Jesus more than you.' They mean it." Even Sheikh sheikh
 or shaykh

Among Arabic-speaking tribes, especially Bedouin, the male head of the family, as well as of each successively larger social unit making up the tribal structure. The sheikh is generally assisted by an informal tribal council of male elders.
 Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hezbollah, once told Brother Andrew, "We know Jesus better than you do, because he is one of us."

Some Muslims, not surprisingly, expressed skepticism about Brother Andrew's approach. "His evangelical efforts would not be taken seriously by many Muslim leaders since they happen to be so sure of their religious beliefs," said Dr. Ghada Hashem Talhami, D.K. Pearsons Professor of Politics at Lake Forest College The College's current Chair of the Board of Trustees is financier Peter G. Schiff, a graduate with the class of 1974. [2]

Lake Forest College is located at 555 North Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045. U.S.A.
 in Illinois and author of Palestine in the Egyptian Press.

But Talhami acknowledged the positive side as well. "I feel that his approach to Islam, which is compassionate and non-threatening, is very helpful in taking the sting out of the anger of some of the Islamic fundamentalist types," she said. "Treating them with respect, even by evangelicals like Brother Andrew, would certainly have a salutary effect upon them."

Brother Andrew's very honesty--his willingness to frankly criticize what he sees as failings in both the West and in Islam-earns him regard among many Muslims. Chawkat Moucarry, director of interfaith relations for World Vision International and author of The Prophet & the Messiah: An Arab Christian's Perspective on Islam & Christianity, said, "When we as Christians make known our own criticisms of Western culture and politics, this encourages them to listen to us and to our message at least out of respect and curiosity."

EMEU director Rodgers says such candid truth-telling goes a long way to explain Brother Andrew's success. "Brother Andrew does not pander To pimp; to cater to the gratification of the lust of another. To entice or procure a person, by promises, threats, Fraud, or deception to enter any place in which prostitution is practiced for the purpose of prostitution.  to Muslims; he tells them the truth even about their own culture and politics," Rodgers said. "This gains respect and opens the doors for change."

Not only that, according to Rodgers, Brother Andrew offers a model for all those who seek to change the world. "Justice is difficult to attain if you hate one of the peoples who are seen as those who 'cause trouble,'" Rodgers said. "Somebody has to truly love them."

Jim Rice is editor of Sojourners.
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Author:Rice, Jim
Publication:Sojourners Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2008
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