A friend recently brought an article about Ergun Caner, co-author of Unveiling Islam, to my attention. This article, published in Christianity Today, reports on a recent blog-flurry that accuses Ergun Caner of exaggerating his Muslim past. Among these potential exaggerations or untruths are the claims that Caner grew up in Turkey in a devout Muslim home, and trained as a jihadist to the age of 15. While the only of these claims made in Unveiling Islam is that Caner grew up in a devout Muslim home (in Ohio), the suggestion that Caner has exaggerated or falsified information regarding his Muslim upbringing is troubling.
As many of you know, I recently read Unveiling Islam and commented chapter by chapter here on bekahcubed. In light of this article, I have included the following addendum in each of my posts on Unveiling Islam:
Ergun Caner’s testimony as a converted Muslim has been challenged by several bloggers who claim that he has grossly exaggerated the extent of his Muslim upbringing. Readers of this book ought to be aware that the Caners may or may not have the experiential knowledge of Islam that they claim to have, and should therefore be careful to test the statements found in this book against other reliable sources.
I find this new information regarding Caner to be quite puzzling–since I felt that in Unveiling Islam the Caners treated Islam with a sympathy uncommon among fundamentalist right-wingers. (Classifying Ergun Caner as a fundamentalist right-winger does not seem out of place, considering that he is currently the president of Liberty University’s seminary.)
Why might Caner have felt a need to lie about his past? Certainly, he doesn’t make outrageous claims regarding Islam (or at least, not as outrageous as many claims made by those who fear Islam). I don’t see any reason for such behavior.
Nevertheless, this certainly calls Caner’s testimony as a believer and credibility as a source of information about Islam into question.
As readers, we should always be discerning, testing what we read against Scripture and against other sources to determine whether such things are true. Even when reading (or listening to) “Christian” sources, we should keep our filters on, carefully testing all things against the Word of God.
Let this be a call to us all to be wise and discerning as we read, listen, and live in a world where things are not always as they seem.