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otr dashback: 11-7-05 -- laywoman issues statement on bishops’ response to rioting in France

By Leila (articles ) | Mar 26, 2008

Sue Brown, a homeschooling mother of eight, kicked the dishwasher closed with one foot while she reached down to tie her three-year-old son’s shoe.

As she pushed the hair out of her eyes, she exclaimed, “While, as the French bishops put it, ‘recent urbanization, difficulties for young people in finding employment, and the instability of family life’ are all certainly reasons behind the present unrest in the slums of Paris, Christians should examine the roots of those circumstances, and address the needs of the spirit.

“It strikes me,” she stated, wielding an expert dishcloth across a sticky table and interrupting her conversation with this reporter to spell the word “onomatopoeia” to an unseen scholar in the dining room, “that unanswered wonder, a sense of spiritual alienation, and a need for repentance might be just as valid reasons for unrest, and more within the purview of the prelates in question.

“Someone forwarded me a piece by Ian Johnson and John Carreyrou which detailed the rise of a man in the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), the French version of the Moslem Brotherhood, a rise that began with a kind of ‘evangelization’ – unfortunately for us, carried out by a fundamentalist Moslem, not a Christian. You can read about it yourself .”

She deftly scooped up a crying baby and moved an overfull basket of laundry out of a visitor’s path.

“My point is simply this: imagine a world in which the bishops called on Christians to evangelize these desperate people, even at the risk of their lives, rather than issuing vague statements about social justice. Suppose that man in the story, Mourad Amriou, now an influential organizer for the UOIF and worker for Islam in France, had instead been convinced that fateful night to become a Catholic. I hear that in Russia millions of Moslems are converting to Christianity. Don’t the bishops of France have the faith to believe that the same thing could happen in their country if they did their duty to God? That’s my statement.”

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